Cycle day 22 – Cycle day 29
Miles this season: 130
Amqui to Gaspesie National Park
Total ECT miles: 515 of 4400ish
So many milestones in this week. I find my thru-hiker strength, we make it through the toughest section of the trail, Matane, and we get our first glimpse of the sea. The sea! Or just the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but the ocean as far as we’re concerned. We walked here from Maine! Awesome. Human bodies are so resilient.
Oh Inner Autumn. So simple from a Fertility Awareness Method perspective, so complex from a Menstrual Cycle Awareness perspective. After confirming ovulation, the dominant hormone in Inner Spring and Summer, estrogen, drops. Progesterone rises and will stay the dominant hormone until a bit before the next bleed. While I still am taking my temperature every morning for a complete health picture, the practice of FAM is a lot simpler after ovulation and less focus is needed. I’m infertile for the rest of this cycle. Not making any babies this week. Sweet.
Energetically, Inner Autumn doesn’t feel so simple. Honestly, cultivating a healthy relationship with this season has been a long process for me. The inner critic can be loud here, and feel heavy. I have found my best approach to this is mostly awareness over action. To acknowledge the challenge of downshifting in a world that celebrates constant climbing, and hold space for it. This alone, this lifting the lid off of the boiling pot, relieves so much of the pressure of the season for me. Inner Autumn will not be forced into a box. I don’t capture the power and magic of Autumn nearly well enough, and I put off writing about it for two months because it is such a complex season. This is my current best description of it, with so much room for improvement.
This Autumn begins rather poetically, with a deluge of rain. The kind that comes on fast after a dark afternoon sky, soaks you before you’ve had a chance to think about grasping for your rain jacket, and leaves you laughing in the absurd bluntness of the elements sometimes. The fire of inner summer gone, it’s time for autumn. I had been feeling an inward pull earlier in the day, a quieting energy. The grief and inner work put off in spring and summer has piled up and I feel the weight of it for the first time this cycle. My legs feel heavier, slower. And all of my music feels wrong. A tell-tale sign I’m leaving the care-free energy of summer behind. My energy shifts. We arrive to the picturesque mountains of Quebec this week, and I feel Owen’s mountain ferver increase. I do love being in the mountains, too, of course, and yet I have inner priorities that can’t be ignored. We didn’t have this perspective of having different mental priorities while being so physically close on some of our first backpacking trips together, and we both suffered from it. I am grateful for all that we have both learned about cyclical living since then.
“I know Autumn is coming, and we’re doing hard stuff. If you think of something, please let me know how I can support you, okay?”
5am. We want to get an early start for reasons I can’t remember. Owen prepares coffee, my body doesnt want to wake this early in autumn after a windy and restless night, but we have an itinerary to stick to. I feel resentment towards Quebec for asking us to plan where we will sleep each night and not allowing the space for us to listen to our bodies. I dream of sauntering through the forest today, napping often, watching the trees sway. Australian accents and ensuing laughter help bring me back to the reality of the day. Time to hike.
Three weeks into this trip and in the middle of one random day I notice I begin to feel thru-hiker strong head to toe for the first time. Yes! My legs, my lungs, my feet, we’re all here together finally. I relish in the predictable growth process of a thru-hike. Walk through enough pain and eventually the thru-hiker strength will appear. It’s here, and with it deep breaths of gratitude. As we are in the heart of Matane, I feel my body push hard in a way it hasn’t this whole hike so far. I feel fast, strong, invincible, like my legs were born to hike up these mountains. This surprises me, and my legs don’t feel like my own. I wouldn’t expect this arrival of strength in my current internal season, but this is my first long distance hike with any real knowledge of the hormonal cycles and inner seasons, so I relish in the pleasant surprise and go with it. I’m secretly pleased with myself that Owen can’t seem to catch up with me, and try to stay humble with my new-found strength.
The season wraps up with a glorious double rainbow sunset after a stormy day, and I come down from my mountain high with a bit of a jolt. I see a mother caring for her two children and feel a wave of sadness in my core. Autumn sure doesn’t water anything down. Mother wounds? My own mothering considerations? I share with Owen that I’m feeling big emotions, shed a few tears, and we fall asleep. Autumn can stir up deep emotions and memories. I’m grateful to observe them without feeling the need to dissect each one.
This Inner Autumn, remember the peace from knowing:
-While my physical strength and desire to push hard are waning for the cycle, opportunities for hold space for a more expansive inner world are abundant.
-Owen knows I’m transitioning from my more giving and extroverted phases into more receiving and introverted phases.
-The harder more wild mountains come first, followed by calmer national park tread, following the hormonal cycle well.
-Aspen and Cedar tree friends are back. Wise, comforting, grounding, no need for verbal communication.
What Inner Autumn looked like on trail for me this week:
-More alone time when walking, more quiet time at camp.
-Less banter. More depth to our trail conversations.
-A practice in being open when I am knee deep in the grief-pit.
-Intentional constant redirection to curiosity instead of judgement.
-Major hunger increase -Increased metabolism in inner autumn meet on top of new-found ravenous hiker hunger.
-Lunch naps. All of the lunch naps.
-Less giving of thai massage, more receiving from Owen this week.
One of my historically most feared and resented phases of my cycle, Autumn, has transitioned into a rich emotionally healing phase. The exhale, the winding down, Autumn, if given the space, can be more than alright. This week was more than alright. I’m so grateful to be here, doing what I love, with my favorite person.
Much Love xx,
Leave a Reply