Under the Dock: An Ode to Summer’s End (Jungian Psychology in Everyday Life Series)

Summer’s end is just around the corner. It is a time of moving from the sun to the shadows of fall and winter. In the summer, many are oriented to the world outside. As fall approaches, you may feel a slight inward shift in your orientation. The sun sets earlier. The evenings are getting cooler. With the coming of fall, the foggy coastal nights become filled with stars once again.

For those living by the water on lakes and rivers, the dock is a focal point during the summer months. In the summer, the shadows and shade of the dock provides a temporary home to many fishes, craw-fish, and other creatures. Children hang fishing poles over the side of the dock hoping to catch a mystery.

The subtle change of light and shadows as summer turns to fall is an invitation to turn inward to the calling of your deeper Self. There is life there, like the home for the fishes under the dock in the summertime. Sometimes the calling of your deeper Self recedes into the background during the busy-ness of the summer, only to beckon for your attention as the days become shorter and the nights longer.

In lake country in North America, it is usually in late summer, around Labor Day in the U.S., that docks are taken out of the water in preparation for fall and the winter’s ice. When the docks are gone, the fishes and other life seek the shadows and the dark below other underwater structures. Many migrate into deeper waters.

For cabin and cottage dwellers, taking out the dock signals the end of a season and the beginning of another. You can feel it in the air. You can hear it in the wind. You can see it in the change of color in the leaves and in the migration of ducks and geese.

Be observant of these changes of seasons, and listen to the stirrings of your deeper Self during the transition from summer to fall. Like the fishes that lose their home under the dock at summer’s end, be prepared and willing to look inward and to move to your deeper waters and the home of the Self.

leaves turn from green to yellow

in the darkening sky

the geese fly south


© 2012, Dr. Jeff Howlin. All rights reserved.

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2 Responses to Under the Dock: An Ode to Summer’s End (Jungian Psychology in Everyday Life Series)

  1. Seth Mullins says:

    Hi Jeff,

    I felt this shift as I was hiking today. Though the day was warm, the air felt different. And I’ve been aware of my body subtly adjusting itself in anticipation of the coming change.

    Autumn is my favorite season. There is some alchemy that occurs; it feels ancient to me, and there is this ideal balance between the inner and outer worlds that makes me more creatively inspired and optimistic than at any other time of year.

    • Dr. Howlin says:

      Hi Seth,

      It seems like we both had similar ideas today. I also returned from an afternoon hike, and I saw and felt signs of the coming seasonal changes. I agree that fall is a time of the year that has a good balance between the inner and outer worlds, as you said. Thanks again Seth, and enjoy the rest of the Labor Day Holiday.


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