Late Summer: the Earth Element

Here we are, at the end of the summer. This morning there is a chilly wind but yesterday was hot. The last of the fruits and veges are coming in from the garden. The insects are near the end of their summer cycle, and the corn is drying nicely in the fields. My teacher Sharon speaks of the smell of sweetness at this time of year. Like the smell of apples, just a bit.

In Chinese medicine this time of year is associated with the Earth element and the Spleen. The color is yellow, the taste is sweet, the direction is center. Center. It feels like that.

The Spleen in our medicine is nourished by the flavor of sweetness (not like sugar, more like apple) and we are finding ourselves perhaps thinking about baking again. We are also beginning to think about eating more savory dishes. Indeed, in Chinese medicine, it is thought that eating raw vegetables can damage the Spleen, when one is weak in that organ. So, we are eating fewer raw salads now, and wanting more cooked veges.

This phase of the year also has us thinking more about home. Looking at the insides of our homes and considering the chores we have put off all summer. That is a sort of Earth/center thing. Our home is our center. We have been out in the world having fun all summer, or just outside working in the garden, and now we want to be inside more as it gets cooler.

Yellow as the color for this season makes sense to me because we see grass turning yellow, leaves turning yellow and similar colors, and the corn and beans in Iowa are getting yellow as they dry in the fields. It is also like the yellow sun which is in charge of all this summer bounty coming to its completion.

So, this morning I am off to drive through the fields of Iowa, on my errand to get fresh food from an Amish farm. I am thankful for the opportunity to do this today, to appreciate the late summer.