I See My Breath!

There’s a definite chill in the air this morning as Addie and I step outside for our morning walk.

I’m in an oversized sweater with a scarf around my neck.fall

The sun’s about to come up and I think about being on the CA beach a week ago doing sunrise meditations. I miss for a moment the sound of the pounding surf, the spray of saltwater on my face and the gentle breezes. But the lightening sky with it’s orange and pink glow bring my attention back to the moment and the unfolding of the day.

There’s great beauty here in Central Ohio during this time of year.

The maples are glorious in their yellows and oranges. They practically glow in the early morning light. Addie stopped to sniff the pile of leaves when I notice I can see my breath!

This is the first time I remember seeing it this fall and it brings such a rush of anticipation. To me it’s a clear indication that summer’s over and fall is all around us. There is no returning to long hours of daylight and warm evenings on my patio. I feel so connected to nature and sense that my anticipation is deeply instinctive and I think about how my ancestors must have felt so pressed to get ready for the upcoming winter. Theirs was a do or die proposition. Mine is a desire to make springtime easier by cleaning up the gardens now.

I think about the vapors that are now visible…the meeting of my hot breath and the chilly autumn air. The steam I create swirls briefly and then disappears almost instantly. Have you ever considered your breath? What your body does all the time without you even having to think about it?

The focus of breath is the easiest gateway into mindfulness or meditation.

Sitting quietly and simply focusing on the gentle inhale and exhale of your lungs is a way to quiet your mind and direct your attention to something that is always with you.

Follow your breath in through your nose, down your throat and into your expanding lungs. Feel your diaphragm expand and contract as it draws the air into your lungs and expels it out. Isn’t the human body so remarkable? Doing this for just a minute is hugely beneficial over time.

Addie’s making me aware that the squirrels are awakening to continue their focused hoarding of nuts for the winter as she tugs on the leash and chases yet another one up the tree.  I always ask her what she would do with a squirrel if she caught it. She acts like she doesn’t hear.

I feel the urgency to complete some yard work and outside projects prior to the winter. I think about the books I’ve read about pioneers, and others who went to live off the land as a temporary escape(or protest) from modern life. Their focus was on gathering and cutting of firewood, winterizing their shelters and stockpiling whatever food they could in preparation for the long cold months ahead.

Again my life doesn’t necessarily depend on my successful completion of my jobs, but I am keenly aware of the changing of the seasons and my anticipation of the coming winter. And just like my excitement at seeing my breath this morning, there will be other firsts coming…, first scraping of the windshield, the first snowflake of the season, first snowfall which eventually leads back to the first crocus blooming and the first smells of fresh green grass.

It’s funny how seeing my breath this morning took me on this thought journey which meandered from the wondrous human body, to mindfulness, to pioneers and my own need to prep for the winter.

Maybe it’s just me, but I am delighted to do some aimless mental wanderings each day.

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