From the vineyards of Cassis in Provence, France, to wineries of Santa Barbara, California, I tasted more fabulous rosé this summer than a Master Sommelier. Bottle after bottle, with an ocean or mountain or city view, shared with friends and family well into the night. I never regret those glasses raised in laughter and love.
But traveling meant there were plenty of meals on the go. Days when chips and m&m’s were lunch or maybe a second lunch. Eating in airports or roadsides where the selection wasn’t a healthy one. There were plenty of fabulous restaurant dinners too. Extraordinary plates of homemade pasta and fresh breads, local fish or eggs, burgers on the grill, corn with butter and peaches over ice cream. Oh, and pies, custards, and tarts. (I was in France, after all). Food highlighted my days, without regard to calories or consequence; I often dined quite splendidly, as evidenced by my scale.
Detox-ober came in the nick of time. Clothes ill-fitting, energy level flatlining, and little desire to run up any of the hills my crazy life demands me to surmount; acting like it was a breeze to keep hiking when in actuality walking through the motions winded me. I owed myself a breather, so, as I do every fall when I find myself in this exact same transitional place from summer fun back to work, I closed the liquor cabinet, stopped eating out, and focused on revitalizing the core of me.
I exist in a very cyclical region, where seasons distinctly bring what they bring. Winter hails snow and ice and cold. Always. Spring, although sometimes later than we hope, ultimately explodes in yellow dandelions cascading across every greening field. Summer is lazy as streams die down to a trickle and paddlers navigate the wide rivers with ease. Fall brings all organisms deciduous to an end but showcases one last kaleidoscope of merging yellow and red and orange.
Autumn also signals a time to go within. I am not saying it is an easy transition, for me it’s a wrangling. I keep swimming in the open water. I sit sipping in the faded sunset. I seek out the distractions. Don’t look at the signs that point inside. Until I finally do. And then I begin that journey we all take with Winter on the horizon, that reminds us to clean up, body and mind.
These transitions require a team, at least for me they do. My chiropractor reminds me to get back to regular yoga classes, and once back to swimming indoors I realize I have been floating far more than not. Without bags of chips in my kitchen I remember quinoa and rice. Without m&m’s I remember apples. Without a quick burger I remember a cupboard of other foods which require actual preparation. Without wine I remember a full night’s sleep, a clearer mind, and water.
I have been fortunate to have a spouse who is not a good cook, but an innovative chef. She chops, sautés and seasons my meals into delectable experiences. Who can’t give up anything with her attention to flavor, and substance? I am equally fortunate with the advice of an Ayurvedic Physician, Pratima, who guides me when I stray, because she gets me, especially my need for much experience. But she knows when it is time to halt the crazy and return to a place of solid ground. She advises me on different herbs and dietary remedies, and gives attention to my inner state as well. On my latest prescription sheet she jotted down one little phrase, “Clean your mind.” Like a mantra, I let her poignant words echo around my busy mind, sometimes failing, and sometimes relief.
F. Scott Fitzgerald wrote in “The Great Gatsby”, “Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall.” Perhaps he was suggesting inner life? To notice what we didn’t while chasing rose petals and butterflies and the perfect wave.As the seasons collide, we try to shift forward. To wait for the tea water to boil, to coax the fire, to enjoy the silence, and step outside to breath deeply the crisp air.