The Sweetness of ‘Late Summer’

Not quite summer, not yet fall…there’s an official FIFTH season that has much to teach and offer!

Did you see the Full Moon over the weekend? It was a beautiful one as always.

I saw it this past Saturday evening while I was sitting outside enjoying a bonfire and dreaming of fall… At that point, it was just shy of full and was glowing so brightly overhead that I mistook it for a streetlight nearby. No streetlight, in fact – just the friendly moon back in full splendor to say hello.

I think that image above just perfectly captures everything about the sweetness and simple joy of a full moon in the late summertime.

Pause for a moment to take it in. Take a deep breath.

Inhale.

Exhale.

There. Doesn’t everything feel just a teensy bit slower now?

But speaking of dreaming of fall…there is a new season upon us! No, it’s not yet fall, although you can imagine my excitement that it’s just around the corner.

My dear friends, welcome to the season of Late Summer.

Late Summer, you say? Isn’t that just…summer?

According to Chinese 5-Element Theory there is a fifth official season: Late Summer. It’s short and sweet, and nestled between summer and fall.

This is the shortest season of them all, only about 4-5 weeks in length, beginning around the last week of August and continuing until the Fall Equinox in mid-to-late September, which ushers in the beginning of fall.

I think we can really appreciate the need for this additional season, especially for those of us in the North. It helps to make sense of the murky transition of summer into fall. I’ve never known what to make of September personally. Not quite the freedom and fire of summer, not yet the cool and pumpkin-spiciness of fall.

The season of Late Summer is definitely a big time of transition. Energetically we begin to move from yang energy into yin: from a time of fast, bright, light, and expansive growth into a time of slow, cool, dark, and deeply restorative rest.

Even though parts of life will continue to move fast as life likes to do, we can take advantage of this shifting energy to begin to incorporate more rest and healing into our lives.

The transition through Late Summer is a lot like that bonfire I was enjoying on Saturday evening: before the flames completely die down and surrender into the Earth, there’s a stage of warm glowing embers. The perfect conditions for roasting s’mores…and also a rare taming of fire’s often out-of-control energy.

THIS is the sweetness of Late Summer.

We are past the stage of running ourselves ragged on the roller-coaster of fiery excitement that is summer; yet we still have those glowing embers inside of us encouraging us to capture these last precious moments.

But encouraging us to capture them in a way that is slightly slower, somewhat more present to the simplest of joys. Like sunsets, and bonfires, and those final warm evenings.

While I have declared myself personally to be a diehard fall-enthusiast, I know that for many Northerners especially, summer can be THE favorite time of year.

Sometimes the end of summer can actually bring up feelings of loss and sadness – natural feelings that accompany the ending of anything precious.

If it seems funny to feel those feelings just for the loss of a season, know that it’s very real and very worth honoring!

If that’s the case for you, try this quote as your mantra for a little comfort and hope during this season of transition:

“Surrender to what is.
Let go of what was.
Have faith in what will be.”
-Sonia Ricotti

In fact, that’s some good advice for all of us to make the absolute best of this season of transition:

(Surrender): Soak in every last kernel of joy from this current season!

(Let go): Feel the fiery embers inside you starting to settle and slow down.

(Have faith): Know that a beautiful season to balance us out with much needed rest and healing is just around the corner.

Happy Late Summer!

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