The sudden change in the weather, with cold winds yesterday and the first flutterings of snow in some parts of the UK. The shortening days as we move inexorably towards the winter solstice. Driving to work in the dark and driving home in the dark. The seemingly ever-growing commercialism of Halloween – you can hardly enter a shop or bar without bumping into a skeleton or a witch (leaving aside that this is fairly normal for any Saturday in my town). Everything from cupcakes to pork pies has a Halloween twist. You are not even safe at the cheese counter – a small portion of cheddar in a ghoul-shaped package will set you back £1. Maybe the link is the belief that cheese before bedtime will give you nightmares. Save your money and move to Kettering!
However, the changing seasons remind us of the beautiful symmetry and predictability of nature. We watch the leaves fall from the trees, giving a bleak starkness to the landscape. For a few precious days we can enjoy nature’s palette as leaves are daubed in glorious autumn colours. We warm ourselves with memories of the few sunny days we enjoyed this summer, and we look forward to the spring we know will surely come. And winter itself has its special moments – the clear, crisp air, bounteous skies, and even snow. Forget “trick or treat”, the trick is to remain fully aware of the beauties of the present moment, and the treat is what this can do for our souls.