Musings on an Autumn Walk - Turn and Face the Change.

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Musings on an Autumn Walk – Turn and Face the Change.

There is nothing more beautiful than Fall.  

Liquid Amber Leaves

I know, most folks think there is no “Fall” in Los Angeles.  No real seasons.  But Fall here really is distinct.  Our trees don’t all turn orange, the temperature doesn’t drop suddenly, there is no snow, but we do experience a change.

And it feels good to change. 

Every week, week after week, we, in our house, are rushing.  Rushing to get to the next thing, to catch up with the last thing, so we can be at the following thing, until we fall down at the end of the day depleted.  As if I will wake up the next day and be “ahead” somehow.  It’s a loosing battle.  But for some reason yesterday, going to the gym to rush on the treadmill and hurry up and catch up to some physical ideal that went away with my 20’s, didn’t feel right.  So I allowed myself a change.  I slowed down; forgave myself that I wouldn’t burn 500 calories – maybe only 100.  And ironically, it was 100% more effective for my well-being.

I decided to take a walk.  A leisurely, enjoy the weather walk.

It was a GORGEOUS Fall day in LA.  Mid 70s, sunny, a slight cool breeze, roasting hot in the sun, cool enough for a light cotton sweater in the shade.  The Magnolia leaves blowing along the street rustled in the quiet of the mid-morning.  I donned a walking hat, leashed up the two doggies, and fairly floated out the door.  Boy it was lovely.  The kids were both in school and I was taking some time for ME.  As the pugs and I absorbed it all – lawnmowers in the distance, birds chirping, dogs barking in the neighbor’s yard, jets taking off at LAX, the distant hum of Sepulveda Boulevard – I could’ve composed a Haiku it was so lovely.  I didn’t need to think about taking deep breaths or justify the clear denunciation of my inner “must use my time effectively” mindset.  It was bizarre truly.  And then I remembered: “oh yes, this happens every October!  That’s why I love it so much!”  It was like seeing an old friend again.  Familiar and Safe.

But WHY does this always happen?  What CHANGES so that I allow myself this drastically different approach?  It’s FALL.  It is Nature’s time for a change {insert The Byrds song “Turn” here}.  The colors change (yes, even here in LA)…and it’s not about the leaves so much as it is the deepening. The color of the AIR itself  is no longer the bright vivid yellow of summer.  Now the shadows are long, the feeling is GOLDEN, the smell is toasted.  A feeling of gratefulness is bestowed on us for all the bounty and glorious frivolity of Summer.  Huh, imagine that…it will soon be Thanksgiving!  Not ironic.


Splashing summer with its shiny sun and gull calls off the jetty, is passing.  The Earth, our Mother, is tilting us away from the sun to allow us a look inward.  A spiritual “hug” gifted to us so that we may feel the balance of this… and then that.  Now we can stop reaching out and fold in.  Balance. Yin and Yang.  Light and Dark.  Harmony.  It is deserved.  I deserve it.

So I took a walk.  How delightful it was!  Like I said, I only walked for 1 mile.  100 calories, 20 minutes.  And it was enriching for so many reasons.

Not even a block in, I found one of our neighbors and best friends working on his front porch posts (a project he’s wanted to get to for some time).  Look at that!  Today was the day to dig in and do something for his HOME.  To NEST.  Beautiful.  This guy is such a great friend. I linger, not walking off, because he’s just so nice.  The kind of guy that gets down low and loves my little dogs and they love him right back.  I exclaimed: “Isn’t it just the most BEAUTIFUL day?!”  Indeed it was.  No need to rush it.


Next, I walked by a local church that has been cultivating a Community Garden for some years now and is run by another friend of ours.  It was so cozy with it’s garden chairs nestled between buds of Amaranth blooming into rich fall colors of blood and deep velvet.  Then I came upon the yoga studio situated in a small brick historic church annex right next door.  “Funny,” I thought to myself, “I’ve been meaning to check out their schedule.  I’ll just grab a copy from this nice stone buddha who’s guarding them here by the door…” A Deepening.  A taking care…SI Exif

My stroll continued in this manner.  Another dear neighbor was out walking with her home schooled son on a scooter and her sassy little sweet pea in the stroller with chubby fingers and cheeks bestowing directions between sippy-cup sips.  The doggies licked the sweetness right off her face and then Momma had to catch up with “scooter the kid.”  “Text me!” I said, “when you are going and we’ll walk together.”  And I meant it.  I have been meaning to connect with some of the moms I know who walk in the mornings…

I turned towards home, staying on the shaded side of the street so the doggles could keep cool and rub their bellies along in the cool dewey grass as they chugged along with their piggy snouts. Which way to walk?  I was drawn to admire another friend’s new fence.  Her house is homey and sweet like pie.  Sure enough, there was hubs, the fence builder, raking leaves.  Perfect.  A quick hello and it was time to go.  Lastly, as I turned onto our own street, another wonderful friend drove by, waved and honked.  So many ways to connectIMG_2198

My day was so much RICHER when I gave in to the FALL.

And it wasn’t sudden.  I had been hearing the warning signals for weeks.  Change was upon me.  The songs kept saying it.  I mean really, “Changes” by Bowie?  Followed shortly thereafter by “A Change will do you Good” from Sheryl Crow?  The news is full of change in the middle east especially, with Iran, Qatar, and Egypt having experienced unexpected changes in leadership.  Change was all I was hearing.

It was literally “in the cards” with the ominous gift of “The Hanged Man” appearing on 9/11 no less:


…Not a very popular card, the Hanged Man deals with sacrifice, delays and waiting – and also being bogged down and helplessness. We sacrifice every time we make a choice … Since sacrifice can mean giving up one thing of value for another thing of equal or greater value, this card can easily be seen as representing the natural and normal function of disposing of something that no longer suits its purpose as well as its replacement will.

The Hanged Man is totally vulnerable, his attitude is “whatever will be, will be”. He accepts everything that happens with equanimity and courage – he is, after all, simply giving in to his destiny. He can sometimes represent the person who has waited too long, who is perhaps scared to change. We should endure with strength and inner peace, but also be courageous enough to take action when destiny calls.” (

It is a card that asks us to take a look at our current situation and  assess whether our life is in “balance.”  It couldn’t have been more apt.  Later that day, I said to my girlfriend, while behaving in the same lighthearted summer way…”I keep getting these signals that I need to change. But I’m just not ready…”
Red Pepper Soup - Recipe by Valentina Kenney

Red Pepper Soup – Recipe by Valentina Kenney

Our Community Garden plot needed to be pulled out and replanted weeks ago.  The tomatoes of summer were on their last leg.  The peppers and squash were in full fruit.  Over the past weekends, Dr. Eric (the hubs) spent some good hours catching up and getting it re-planted for winter with lettuces, cauliflower, red cabbage, brussel sprouts, and peas.  I need to get a few last things canned up and made into appropriate #dreric’s #dinners.  Of course, we don’t have to “put up” all the fruit and vegetables like in the old days, but there is some urgency to using or saving all of the garden bounty before it wastes.  It is quite remarkable, how nature provides exactly what we crave when we need it.  There’s a reason that with Fall, comes butternut squash soup, roasted red peppers, and pumpkin pie.  Sure enough, the weather changed, and we were grateful for the things at hand.  Comfort food.  A richness. A warmth.


The moon too, touted change with its big bold orange self on September 19th and 20th.  The Harvest Moon. ( The closest Full Moon to the Vernal Equinox.  The night when the Full Moon is directly opposite the Sun in the sky.  The day and night are equal. Balance.

A source I love to check in with online said this about the Vernal Equinox:

549047_10151833128466740_1620192144_nWe have been actively working and expressing…putting ourselves and our ideas out into the world, growing and changing.  Now is the time to pause, go within, and take stock of how far we have come.


Our inner work, our growth, is our harvest. Time to honor our journey and the rebalancing that has taken place within us. Notice the seeds we planted and how they have blossomed thus far. Let’s open our hearts in gratitude” (

And sure enough, that was the tipping point,  that lustrous moon as bright as day lighting the way.  Ready or not, here it comes.  On Friday, September 20th, things were different.  And I am grateful. So very grateful. IMG_8131

Yesterday was another new beginning.  One of many thousands of new beginnings.  Every moment of every day a chance to be in our skin.  To be PRESENT.

My walk was a treat to ease the transition.  Now, I am fully on board for Fall.  Ready to think about Halloween costumes and Chili dinners. Ready to walk my dogs with the neighbors and enjoy the long shadows.

So here I sit.  Being *that lady!*  Ack, yes, the one who gets all wise and symbolic with old age.  But a few weeks ago, I was not.  It’s the season!: exactly what it represents from youth to knowledge – Summer to Fall.  Change is good.

I feel, at least for this moment, balanced.  And HAPPY.

I wish nothing for you but the same.IMG_5134

Coby Dahlstrom (#mrsdrdahl)


Dr. Eric P. Dahlstrom, D.C., L.Ac.
Santa Monica Healing Arts
Providing Chiropractic Care and Acupuncture in Santa Monica since 1999 ( Check out our 5-star Review on Yelp ( or find us on facebook (
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  1. I really, really love this! So beautiful! XO

    • admin

      Thank you Valenina! I know you know what I mean…comfort food and cozy! I always look forward to your Thanksgiving card 🙂 love you. xo C

  2. Melinda

    BEAUTIFUL writing. ABSOLUTELY captured that “October Feeling” perfectly. I love this line and have felt it recently…
    ” I could’ve composed a Haiku it was so lovely. I didn’t need to think about taking deep breaths or justify the clear denunciation of my inner “must use my time effectively” mindset. It was bizarre truly.”
    Thanks for explaining 🙂

  3. I’m not sure where you are getting your information, but great topic. I needs to spend some time learning much more or understanding more. Thanks for excellent info I was looking for this information for my mission.

  4. Rene

    Hello lovely lady,
    Such a great post and so wonderful connecting with you on Sunday. Yes, in the fall, if at all! It is a season with a most wonderful intention.

  5. Grammy

    ch, ch, ch, changes ……………………………………….love you Coby !

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