Autumn Equinox: Embracing Balance & Transition...and What Yellowstone Has to Do with It All

Oct 05, 2023

Mural above: Gorgeous new garden installation by Artist Will Lytle

How we can use curiosity and wonder to keep our hearts open and reposition ourselves to embrace our contrasts and see life through the lens of another

October greetings dear ones!

Transition is upon us yet again, a season of letting go and breathing in — hellos and goodbyes. And the equinox reminds us to seek balance within it all — this symphony with life and our natural world, a continuous dance.

Here in the Catskill Mountains the shifts have been dramatic. The leaves are transforming into a painter’s palette of earth tones that are gently beginning to cascade down from tree limbs, creating a soft carpet beneath us before we are left bare and exposed.

I’m not quite sure what ‘balance’ actually means. While it’s a form of neutrality and equilibrium, I see it as an opportunity to embrace our extremes and to be curious about life and each other — especially in our differences. We aren’t neutral beings — we have likes, dislikes, beliefs and desires (not to mention strong opinions).

Some love the cooling of the temperatures. Some can’t bear to let go of hot summer days. Regardless, we certainly don’t control the weather. The rains have been harsh these past weeks, disturbing to some and yet, I secretly relish this fall weather in all of its incarnations.

Resistance or inquisitiveness — it’s a choice. 

Besides, I held steadfast to the belief that despite the days of cold and flooding rains, Mother Nature still had an ‘Indian Summer’ in store for us...and she rarely disappoints. 

So back to the autumn equinox that supposedly represents the harmony between light and darkness — equal parts day and night — the perfection of nature and God. Light and dark, they both reside within us — and to me that is perfection.

What does this mean to me?

Each day I strive to be curious instead of judgmental (doesn’t mean I always succeed at it). But I don’t need to ‘fix’ anything or anyone. I simply need to observe how I am moving through this life and relating to others — to consider how I see the world. That doesn’t replace discernment or opinions, but it helps us release this need to see right or wrong, to deem something or someone good or bad.

This may surprise you, but I recently got caught up in watching Yellowstone, the story of a powerful family of Montana ranchers. I know, not exactly a show you’d think I’d like...but it sucked me in. Of course, I had difficulty with some parts of witnessing ranch and cattle life. And still, something about the show called to me — this relationship of ranchers, farmers, family living in communion with nature.

In one of the recent episodes I watched, there was this moving scene where a visiting big-city environmentalist asked a young boy about a fire and what they were going to do about it. The young boy responded by saying that God would take care of it. The environmentalist persisted, “How?” He simply said, “God would take care of it with rain.” She continued, “You mean nature?” “Yeah, that’s what I said,” he responded. In other words, God and nature, interchangeable components of beauty and faith.

Perhaps that’s the equilibrium and neutrality we should seek — this faith in God and nature and our role in showing up to play our part within it?

Each precious day is an ending and a beginning — an opportunity to take care of yourself and this planet, to make choices that fill you up and nourish you... or not.

Right now, I’m seeking this opportunity within my own life to call forth curiosity, wonder and a little silliness. Good thing I live with a few ‘teenagers’ — and I use quotes because this month, is the month that my ‘baby’ turns 18.

For example, when I returned home from work late one night, I was met by a house full of whimsical Halloween decorations all about — tiny pumpkins lines shelves and table tops, precious childhood cutouts and drawings of ghosts dangled from the ceiling. Each room held its own wonderment and delight.

I stood breathing it all in with such gratitude, “Yes, God. Thank you for another year of this.” Yes, the world calls for her to become an adult — and she shows up, but she also celebrates her childlike nature. I yearn to help her hold onto this and nurture this precious part of herself. She loves beauty and creating beauty for those around her.

October is the month I became a momma, which probably explains why I feel extraordinarily cracked open and sentimental during this time of year. My body remembers. I have had the privilege of witnessing this incredible baby girl grow into a complex, kind, talented and extremely curious young woman of substance. 

I’ll admit, I kind of melt in her presence and I strive to remain open to learning from her — to me that is this equilibrium the autumn equinox speaks of. We can retain a sense of wonderment about each other, our differences and remain open to receive.

I also get very antsy to travel at this time. I’ve got adventures swimming in my head and a few things on the horizon. In fact, we will be spending True’s 18th birthday in the countryside of Ireland. I’ve never done anything like this before and yet, the call of my soul is undeniable. Stay tuned, I’ll report back next month!

And in the meantime, consider how this autumn equinox is showing up for you. What is it nudging you towards? What does it want you to see? Are you being called for adventure or isolation, to go inward or expansion? Try not to judge it (or others) and see where it all leads.

Before I sign off, let me share a few words about this divine mural now beaming in her full glory in our garden. Will Lytle* is a well-known local creative genius. We met years ago and I’ve been in awe of his creations ever since. If you’ve ever walked into one of them, you know exactly what I mean.

He has been a part of our Garden Café brand identity from the beginning, but I knew that one day — one way or another, I would get to incorporate one of his designs in a more prominent voila!

I remember the afternoon when Will and I first started dreaming this up — the story we wanted to tell, the elements we wanted to include — the stars, moon, magic and of course, a bunny — all set beneath Overlook Mountain. I could see his magical talent coming alive before my eyes and his creative juices flowing as we spoke. He sat in the garden and then moved about to many different tables to obtain a new perspective.

That’s equilibrium to me...repositioning oneself to see life through the lens of another.

—Lea Haas, Owner, The Garden Cafe Woodstock


“Observe the wonders as they occur around you. Don’t claim them. Feel the artistry moving through and be silent.”

~ Rumi

*To learn more about Will Lytle’s magical creations, check out Thorneater Comics on Instagram or Tumblr.


Get the Cafe Newsletter

Get the Garden Cafe's beautiful newsletter delivered to your inbox every month. It's chock full of musings, recipes, music, good reads and more — to nurture your mind, body and spirit. Simply enter your information below to join our free community!