You are probably familiar with the song, Autumn Leaves. You know, the one that begins, “The autumn leaves drift by my window. The Autumn leaves of red and gold.” I’m not so taken with those drifting by my window as much as the ones that pile up on the ground. The other day I was walking with a friend along a street which had places where leaves had piled up. Likely blown onto the street by the wind. We walked through the leaves listening to the crunching sound as we went. Walking through crunching leaves is seriously one of my favorite aspects of Autumn. The only thing missing was a street vendor selling hot roasted chestnuts.
Those few moments of joy brought back some childhood memories of fallen leaves and the great fun we had playing in them.
My all time favorite involved my 3 best friends who lived on my block. The Presbyterian church was right across the street from my house. There was a big lawn beside the church contained by a chain link fence. The minister’s daughter was my very best friend in our group. Consequently we often played in the church yard and sometimes even in the church itself. When the leaves fell to the ground in Autumn we would go into the church yard and make huge piles of leaves up against the fence. Then we’d go outside the yard, climb the fence and jump into the magnificent piles of leaves. We would do this over and over again until exhausted. At that point we’d lie down on the ground and completely cover ourselves with leaves.
It was an innocent time. It preceded cell phones, social media, video games, et al. Most of the time we were left to our own devices, our imaginations and spending hours with neighborhood friends doing whatever popped into our heads. Usually it was games, sports, playing pretend or just hanging out. Whatever we did always became fun, joyous fun.
Here's the thing. We hardly need reminding of the crazy, stressful times in which we live. The longer it goes on, more folks seem to be wearing down. One of the things I find helpful is either recalling and re-feeling a cherished, joyful memory or indulging in something playful. With the big second wave upon us, we all need a stress breaker. Take a few moments, or longer, each day to do something that gives you joy. Do something playful or even silly. It will short circuit any stress and allow dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin the feel good, happiness hormones to flow. Even lowers blood pressure.
Self care is an important part of well being. Give yourself a mental break. Do something out of the box.
“Sometimes it's important to work for that pot of gold. Other times it's essential to take time off and to make sure that your most important decision in the day simply consists of choosing which color to slide down on the rainbow.” Douglas Pagels
Choose your favorite color and go for it. Or, you can always jump into a pile of leaves.
Comments are welcomed.