A Time of Fruition, Celebration and Letting Go – Rituals for the Changing Seasons

Bench with a View

Bench with a View © 2013 Bo Mackison

“Ritual practice is the activity of cultivating extraordinary ordinariness.” ~ Ronald L. Grimes

This is the bench where I sat while I contemplated the day, the seasons, nature, my life, the world, even the boundlessness of the universe. I was restless. Untethered. Once again I was facing changes – changing seasons, changes in responsibilities, changes in my business.

It was a time of fruition and celebration, and it also was a time of saying goodbye, letting go, even a bit of grieving.

Realizing this is a common reaction to change — joy coupled with letting go — I sat in solitude and let my mind wander. I decided to create a ritual to recognize both celebration and closure.

I paid close attention to my surroundings.

The prairie grasses were browning, flowers had set seed. The apple trees were over laden with ripened fruit, and many of the apples had dropped onto the earth and begun to rot. Cracked walnuts were along the paths. And still there was evidence of bustling life all around me. Geese were flying in formation, back and forth from their feeding grounds, the harvested cornfields.  The late autumn flowers of the prairie spared from the last frost — showy goldenrod, purple asters, daisy fleabane — still blossomed in protected areas,

That All May Be One

That All May Be One ©2013 Bo Mackison

I searched for a ritual, one that offered a feeling of comfort and acceptance, one that said goodbye while also looking forward.

What could I use as a guide? What would be in a transitioning ritual,  in a healing place?

  • the night sky, dark, abundant with stars
  • open spaces, open minds
  • spiritual spaces, resting spaces, thinking places
  • a container that contained my curiosities, my questions, my collections
  • quiet, slow, peaceful
  • folk art, expressive art, art that tells a story, art that has heart
  • kindnesses and little gifts (When traveling it is customary to bring tiny gifts in exchange for kindnesses received along the path and to those who share their stories.)
  • a place in nature, ecological, in balance
  • a place my great-grandmother would have loved

The last thought — a place my great-grandmother would have loved — helped provide the answer to my longings.

I thought of the many things I’d learned from my great-grandmother when I was a child, of the many things she’d loved. I thought of the changing seasons, of the routines we had made extraordinary in their repetition, chores we did with love and respect and companionship.

We gathered the last of the harvest from the vegetable garden, cleaned and cut the vegetables, and made huge pots of vegetable soup with my grandfather’s help.

We made dough, rolled it out, and cut the dough into long noodles. We dried herbs on racks in the pantry. We raked the garden and added to our compost pile. We pulled the quilts and blankets out of storage, and draped them over several back yard clothes lines to air in the breeze.


Pears, Ripe on the Branch © 2013 Bo Mackison

We adapted our evening rituals to the sun’s earlier setting.

Instead of sitting on the porch after supper and chatting with passing neighbors, we set up a table in the kitchen for puzzles and games. We fell into a simple routine of cleaning the kitchen, then playing games of Parcheesi or Pokeno. We took an evening walk around the outside of the house just before bedtime, making sure all was tidy while admiring the starlit skies.

So much love and care and honor went into these simple actions. Home and hearth. Routines and rituals – all good for the soul.

Do you long for a way to honor the changing seasons, for the ordinary turned extraordinary by the practice of ritual?

Today I jotted down a few reminders – ways to prepare for the changing season, routines to ease the change from busy day to rejuvenating evening, rituals to remind me of the sacredness in the ordinary. Simple actions – gardening, cooking, preparation for winter.

What might you add or subtract from your day in honor of the ordinary, the sacred?


This post was adapted from one published on another autumn day just over a year ago.



About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. what a wonderful memory and transition.

  2. I’ve never considered having a ritual to contemplate changes. But I think it’s a good idea. Hello! I’ve been absent but I’m back to absorb your wisdoms.

  3. I’m still learning the lay of the land here, and starting some new rituals. Today, as the winds gust and bluster, and leaves fly from some of the trees, I worked in my scrounger’s garden, getting it ready for winter. The scent of earth and mulch, the goldfinches dancing around in the zinnias (that are still blooming), the sound of the wind howling through the marsh, and the rustle of the drying marsh grasses all kept me company. 🙂

  4. I don’t have a particular ritual to honor the changing of the seasons. Your post is a reminder that I should work on this. Thanks to Robin for linking to it in her blog.


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