Wednesday, November 4, 2009

In My Happy Place, or, Out of the Sugar Fog

As I've mentioned before, I grew up back east. I lived in a place where fall meant a rainbow of colors on the trees; you'd walk out the door and your eyes would be dazzled by leaves of every color. I admit I took it for granted as a kid; I thought fall looked like that EVERYWHERE. But it doesn't. In some places, leaves just basically turn brown and fall off. And some places don't have many trees, or the forests are conifers that simply remain evergreen.

I moved away from home... far, far away... when I was 18 years old. The place I was living out west was flat and dry and brown. Very brown. So there were pretty much two seasonal colors: green, and brown. Later I moved to a new state where conifers ruled, and I lamented the lack of colorful fall leaves.

For more than ten years I've lived here. I "hated" fall. I "hated" winter. My favorite season was summer, followed by spring. Fall sucked because it got cold and there wasn't enough sunlight and everything was dying.

Ten years of hibernating at the first sign of fall. Ten years of stuffing food in my face for 6 months out of the year because everything just sucked. I stayed inside, shut the curtains, and bided my time until spring.

Last week I took a walk. I've been taking lots of walks lately, and I discovered something. THERE ARE FALL COLORS HERE. It is actually GORGEOUS here in the fall. I've lived here for over ten years and never noticed.

The trees are turning all shades of gold, orange, and red:

Bright scarlet patches here and there...


Gorgeous gold against chalk-white bark...


Orange as a sunset...


Giant splashes of crimson...


... and more gold.


The colors and textures combine to create something truly beautiful:

All of this and more has surrounded me for YEARS. I was oblivious to the sights, sounds, and smells of fall that now bring me joy. The crunch of leaves and their wonderful scent as I walk is intoxicating. I find myself staring in awe at what has been here all along. LIFE.

How did I miss it? How did I not know? The same way we miss everything else when we are comatose on the couch with a bag of Oreos: sugar fog. When one is immersed in FOOD... junky, chemically, sugary, fatty food... I swear it dulls the senses. Colors don't look as bright. Nothing feels as good. Everything is just so blah, or worse yet, depressing. Life looks bland, or unhappy, or hopeless. It's like we have some kind of mask over our eyes limiting our vision... or maybe it's more like putting on a pair of extra-dark sunglasses streaked with smudges. The intensity of everything we experience... of LIFE... is dulled.

Freed from the sugar fog, I am in my happy place. Every day is a joy, even the ones that are hard. I have a new appreciation for life, for my children, for every leaf and plant and cloud I see each day. Colors are brighter now, I swear. It's like I've gone from a black-and-white existence to technicolor awareness. I am so happy. I can't even express how changed I feel.

Please, if you live in the sugar fog, know that life does not have to BE like that. There is so much joy waiting for each of us, if we will only try. Don't let another fall pass you by, imagining it to be a season only of brown and death. Wake up, see the colors, embrace YOUR life.


20 comments:

Melissa said...

i'm so glad you're in your happy place! :) & my- those pictures are BEAUTIFUL!!

Theresa said...

beautiful photos!!

Suzanne said...

Fall is one of my favorite seasons. Like you I love seeing all the many vibrant colors. Sadly, I spend most of my daylight hours during the week at my desk (albeit with a fabulous window view), when I'd much rather be out with a scarf wrapped around my neck enjoying the wind and sunshine.

This is my first time commenting here. You have such a great outlook and I'm really glad I found you here.

Autumnforest said...

You lucky, lucky girl. Isn't amazing how we can't see things until we come out of the fog of numb eating and then suddenly there's opportunities, there's beauty, there's a world out there! I have one mulberry tree that changes colors in December. That's my autumn. And I savor it like mad. I admit that I despise the Southwest where I live--with a passion and I feel like my life won't start until I move away from here some day to Oregon. I can picture my life there, but sometimes I tell myself--when do you live here??? So, I've started living as if I live in Oregon, but do it here. It doesn't feel, smell, or look like Oregon, but I can be that girl that would live there, outdoorsy, appreciating nature, eating organically. You work with what you have. Thanks for sharing the pic's. (sigh)

Vickie said...

did you take those pics?
beautiful!

Lyn said...

Vickie~

Yes, I took them. They were even more beautiful in person!

Izzybee said...

Wow - gorgeous pictures. I must say I probably don't appreciate the fall here as much as I should. I'm firmly in the "but that means it's going to get cold soon!" camp. Did I even mention I hate being cold? If it wasn't such a long flight back to the UK I'd consider moving to Arizona.aybe I should take a walk tomorrow and do some appreciateing.

Tammy said...

Fall has always been my favorite time of year....I'm so thankful that the fog has cleared and you're finally getting to enjoy it and see it for what it is where you're living. :)

screwdestiny said...

What lovely pictures. I'm glad you're able to fully experience and enjoy this now. I live in Wyoming where it's all brown, like you said. So I'll just live vicariously through you.

Kristin from the NW said...

Wow, this makes me miss the Northwest. One of the most vivid memories I have from childhood was the tall Douglas firs contrasted against the clear blue skies (that is, when it actually was clear!) I'm lucky, though, to be living in a four-season kind of place. I'm really noticing the smells, too--fragrant smells of downed leaves :)

MB said...

I'm glad you're out of the sugar fog and in a happier place where you can enjoy the fall season. It is one of my favorites. I love living in a place where the seasons really change (winter, mud season, spring, summer and fall).

Foodie Girl said...

Pretty colors! Autumn is my favorite season. The sights and smells always give me that nostalgic feeling.

Amelia said...

I want to feel that happy...

Dinah Soar said...

As often is the case, we can't see the forest for the trees. When our mind is not engaged in that which excites us we do tend to just exist...we miss out on so much...and looking for comfort, we fill ourselves with food, not realizing that kind of filling will never satisfy. Jesus said he came to give us an abundant life, and he told the woman at the well that he would give her water to drink that would satisfy--that she would never thirst again. Just as in the spiritual realm we need the living water, thus it is so in the physical realm. We must focus, engage--fill up-- on that which gives live and energizes us. We must feast on that which points us to life and not death. Whether it be changing our mindset or finding a hobby that we love so much we prefer it to food, we must 'do' something that assists us in being all that we can be. We must be brave enough to take the first step, believing that it is possible to succeed. Doing so we will discover strength and ability we never knew we had.

Sarah said...

There is actually a study to confirm something similar to what you're saying. I posted about it the other day.
http://foodandtherapy.blogspot.com/2009/11/high-fat-diets-cause-impaired-cognitive.html

When I heard it on NPR I was surprised but like "OMG that is explaining a lot!"

Quinta da Quilter said...

Who knew the Sugar Fog was sooooo dense?! Bravo! And a big thank you for all the extra aide your blog is bringing to my own healthy journey through the Fog!

Diana said...

That place looks beautiful!

Karyn said...

Even a few years ago I hated fall. But, I have now decided that it is my favorite season because of all the beautiful colors. And the crunch of the leaves as I run is one of my most favorite things.

Unfortunately, the season that follows still sucks. I hate the snow and feeling cold for months on end. I need to learn to find things about winter that I could love to. Then maybe that season wouldn't seem to last so long!

Karen in Tennessee said...

Lyn, I emerged from my sugar fog 2 weeks ago today and I totally agree with you. Colors are more vibrant. Music is more beautiful. And I cherish the love of friends and family more than I have in a very long time. Life offers happiness and once again is full of exciting possibilities. I have gone from wanting only to bury myself in my bed or couch, never willing to leave the house, to really looking forward to new adventures. Right now, my washer and dryer are going, my dogs are playing in the back yard, my house is CLEAN, Ed has WORK, and I am feeling something I have seldom felt in the last months: I am happy!!!

PS: Your photos are amazing and I have that same golden tree in MY backyard, although I am not sure I had really appreciated it before. Thanks so much for the very inspiring post and beautiful pictures.

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