I think I must be a mushroom. Autumn gives me a new burst of energy and enthusiasm, like the funghi popping up in the woods. Maybe it’s the cooler temperature or the glorious golden sunshine, or even the industrious example of the spiders busily spinning the webs that festoon the garden. (And my hair, every time I poke my head into the greenhouse, which the spiders seem to have adopted and fortified as their own.)
Actually, maybe I’m not a mushroom. Maybe I’m a spider, creating a life one strand at a time.
A web begins as a single strand and looks like a thin, wispy, inconsequential nothing. But slowly, an inch or two at a time, the strands come together to make a beautiful, sparkling whole.
In the middle of the process a new web looks wrong. Lopsided. Incomplete. There’s no pattern, no order. But I don’t suppose the spider stops to question itself: “Am I doing this right?” “Shouldn’t it look more like Cecil’s web over there?” “What on earth will the other spiders think?” The spider just does the work.
Autumn is a great time for new beginnings. New season, new school year. Whether the return to school affects you or not, I think the ‘newness’ of September is buried in all our psyches). We even begin to wear different clothes.
But, like that first day when you squeeze your summer-liberated feet into shoes, or even boots, new beginnings aren’t always comfortable! There’s always something to learn, and we’re used to knowing how things work without having to learn, or create, a new system. There are new experiences, and they can make us feel nervous and uncomfortable. The next step isn’t obvious, and isn’t familiar, and may feel hard to do.
Growing and creating something new often feels like a mess and a muddle in the middle, but if we can resist tidying everything up and going back to the old regime, eventually we will find glittering strands of silk among the rubble, polish them up, and weave them together to create our new way of being. Like the spider, we need to just do the work, as Stephen Pressfield would have it, and get comfortable in the creative muddle.