The Fourth Quarter: Week One – Look for Signs

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It was a gloriously warm September afternoon.  I almost regretted wearing my new wool jacket
as I stood guzzling a bottle of pop whilst enjoying the sun on my back.  But when I got back to my car, there it
was.  Irrefutable evidence.  A crisp golden leaf lying on the roof: a definitive
sign that summer is done.  Autumn time is
here.

The leaves turning and falling may be a sure sign that the
seasons have turned but it isn’t the only one.
In the last week I’ve noticed the early morning nip in the air and
received carrier bags full of apples passed along to prevent the garden’s glut
going to waste.  

Autumnal cues aren’t restricted to the natural world.  We can see them everywhere, in towns and
cities as much as villages and country lanes.
Again in the last week, I’ve delighted in seeing small children wearing
big uniforms and spotting the first crushed conker shells on the pavement.  

Not all the signs are welcome, of course.  Some relish the darker nights and colder days
but not everyone shares this enthusiasm for ‘seasons of mist and mellow
fruitfulness’.  Knowing that soon one
will have to get up in the dark and come home from work in the dark is a common
complaint.  For others, losing the long
languid days of summer triggers a more serious response, and they enter a
period as dark and cold as the world outside their door.

Whichever your stance, I welcome you to join in with The Fourth Quarter.  

If you love this time of year then The Fourth Quarter offers reflections to enhance your appreciation
and opportunities to celebrate what you treasure.  

If the prospect of some nice new knitwear doesn’t spark joy
in your heart, then there’s something here for you too.  I hope that within the weekly reflections you’ll
find a snippet that resonates, a spark that excites or a morsel of comfort – even
just one thing to embrace as we move towards the end of the year.

All you have to do is read and reflect.  Read these weekly commentaries then reflect
upon them as you go about your days.  Nothing
more demanding than that.  If you’d like
to share thoughts or pictures then that’s great; simply use the hashtag
#fourthquarter2015 on social media or pop a comment on A Life Of One’s Own Facebook page.

I’ll be doing likewise with additional bits and pieces
between the reflections as this is as much a journey for me as well.  The autumn months pull at my heart strings
like no others.  I feel like they offer
something integral to my A Life Of One’s
Own
vision but I’ve only a hazy sense of why.  I want to learn more, grow more and share
more as we go along.  

So let us begin this movement through the fourth and final
quarter of the year together!  

The reflection for this first week is this introduction
itself.  

The calendar on the wall (or just as likely on our phones)
tells us that it is September, with October almost in view.  Yet how do we know that it is autumn?  

The leaf on the roof of my car signalled the change of
seasons to me, but there are many other indications too.  Let’s spend the week gathering the
signs.  Let’s look around us, in our
homes and outside of them; in the built environment and the natural
environment; in the familiar and the unfamiliar.  How do you know that autumn is here?

Perhaps keep a written record of all the signs you
spot.  Or maybe a mini photography
challenge appeals, capturing the clues in a visual record.  

I like the idea of making it into a game, a bit like ‘I Spy’
only I guess all the answers kind of begin with the same letter – A for autumn!  (You could throw in F for fall, for
variety!).  In my fantasy world where I
am the world’s most amazing junior school teacher, I would play this game with
my class of nine year olds whilst going for nature walks (I have several
different alternate universes within my head; being a junior school teacher is
one of them).

Or maybe craft a poem from the season’s signs.  Acrostics are simple and amusing: make each
line begin with a particular letter, say A-U-T-U-M-N.  

Look for the signs, those you cherish and otherwise.  Don’t feel you have to filter to create a
particular vision of the season, just let your eyes take you where they
will.  And of course use your other
senses too; what are the sounds, smells and sensations of autumn?

As you explore and observe, you may also want to look
within.  What are your signs of
autumn?  Are there any internal clues?  Does your heart and soul respond to the
turning of the year in a particular way?
We’ll be thinking more about this internal response and the metaphorical
meaning of the seasons more in forthcoming weeks.

Let us now take our first step in this journey
together.  I’ll meet you back here next
week but in the meantime hope to see you on the Facebook page or via our
#fourthquarter2015 hashtag.

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