Autumn Interviews

Rittenhouse Square in autumn

Rittenhouse Square in autumn

The weather here in Philly changed quickly these past couple weeks and I went out to Rittenhouse Square Park with my husband and son to interview people. We were interested in finding out what people’s favorite seasons are. Not surprisingly, most people who were sitting in the park at this time preferred the autumn. People told me about how they loved the weather and the fall colors, the nostalgia of sweaters, soup, and being with family.

In Chinese medicine, autumn is a time for realizing the abundance of the harvest and also the time to start slowing down from the activities of summer. The energy of summer is regarded as expansive and external, while autumn is more internal. In autumn it helps us to think about what we need most in our lives, what we value and want to save as we go into winter. This can be seen in nature, as the fruit and leaves fall off the trees. Some of it is eaten, and some rots in the ground, giving the earth the minerals and nutrients it needs to grow plants in the spring. The trees don’t need their leaves for photosynthesis anymore and it benefits the tree to let them go. People can also recognize what they might not need, and benefit from letting those thoughts, feelings, possessions, projects, go.

Metal is the element associated with autumn in Chinese Medicine, and the Lungs and Large Intestine are the corresponding organs. Like the autumn, these organs are responsible for taking things in and letting them go. Our lungs allow us to take in the oxygen that our body needs, while our large intestine lets go of the waste. Lungs also can let go, and we can benefit greatly from the deep breathing of meditation, or even just letting our negative emotions out with an exhale. Grief is the emotion closely associated with the lung, and if you’re interested, you can read these articles to learn a little more about it.

In the meantime, enjoy the autumn! Eat lots of harvest foods, like pears and sweet potatoes, and then put on a scarf and go outside and breathe the air.

I’d also like to say that the second most popular season during our interviews was summer. We will miss the warm weather, sunshine, and the beach!

This is the first in my interview series. I am going to occasionally go out and ask people in the community what they think about certain things. Is there anything you’d like to hear about?