Thought for the week – 20 October

Reading time: 2 minutes

This week Professor Mona Siddiqui, Assistant Principal Religion and Society, reflects on the the changing seasons and the chance to check in on how we’re feeling.A view of Autumn trees

When John Keats wrote his ode to Autumn, the words “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,” became one of the most memorable first lines in English poetry. I read this poem again recently. Over the last couple of weeks, as I’ve been out walking, it’s impossible not to pause every now and again and take in the beauty of this season with its array of red and yellow hues and the golden glow of the evening light. As the temperature falls, the burst of Autumn colours adds a reddish warmth to the environment. There is something about the rhythm of the changing seasons which is comforting. Nature has its own purpose and the autumnal joy and melancholy reminds us to reset expectations in our lives.

Today when so many of us are working in new and sometimes difficult circumstances, we should try to rebalance the demands we make of ourselves and others. Our emotional and mental wellbeing leads to greater productivity. But our working life needs balance; it should not be incessant. We should take time to pause, reflect on our environment and acknowledge life’s joys as well as its challenges. Our work matters because it is part of who we are but we are all strengthened when we reflect on the life outside our own. Talking, sharing, observing  and simply worrying less is essential to maintaining positive energy.  Yes, we will soon be facing darker nights and a more wintry season but that too will create its own magic. For now, let’s enjoy the fading colour and light of this watercolour season when as Albert Camus said, “every leaf is a flower”.