If winter is slumber and spring is birth, and summer is life, then autumn rounds out to be reflection. It’s a time of year when the leaves are down and the harvest is in and the perennials are gone. Mother Earth just closed up the drapes on another year and it’s time to reflect on what’s come before.
~ Mitchell Burgess
We’re not quite there yet in this part of the world. The drapes are still open, the trees are still holding on to their leaves, and the harvest continues to pour in via our share in a CSA. Even our gardens are still producing (tomatoes in the vegetable garden, and zinnias in the scrounger’s garden).
Bo — artist, writer, guide, fellow blogger, and friend — recently wrote a beautiful post titled A Time of Fruition, Celebration and Letting Go — Rituals for the Changing Seasons. I read it after working for a few hours in the scrounger’s garden yesterday, and got to thinking about my own rituals for the changing seasons (and whether or not I have rituals). Go on over and read it. I’ll wait.
I left a comment on her post that might make a good start for this blog post. We’ll see where it goes. I wrote (and corrected after I saw what I wrote):
I’m still learning the lay of the land here, and starting some new rituals. Today, as the winds gusted and blustered, and leaves flew 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 and butterflies 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.
The leaves on the dogwood tree we planted in the spring are changing color, each leaf containing some yellow, orange, and red. I hope it winters well and that we’ll see a few blooms next spring.
The sweet gum trees continue to change colors. We have more than we need here and will have to thin them out, but in the meantime I am enjoying the way they light up with all of autumn’s colors. On one tree you’ll find yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. Even the various colors come in a variety of shades.
I have daily rituals. I watch the sun come up in the morning, and watch it leave us in the evening. There are tea rituals in the morning and evening, too. Tea with caffeine to start the day. Chamomile or rooibus or some other herbal tea to end it.
I was going to write that I didn’t grow up with seasonal rituals. Upon some reflection, I realize that’s not true. There were rituals involving church, of course. (The Catholic church loves its rituals!) There were harvest rituals, too, although I didn’t think of them as such until just now. Every year in October we’d go to an apple orchard for apples and cider. (That orchard no longer exists. It’s gone the way of a lot of the farmland in the Garden State (New Jersey). The trees were chopped down and houses were built.) If Mom had a vegetable garden that year, she would be canning and freezing whatever was left in the garden before the first frost hit. We’d be carving our pumpkins about now, too.
My seasonal rituals include some of the things from my childhood days. Apples and apple cider, for sure, although we haven’t yet found a good orchard near us so we pick them up at a local farm market that has them shipped in. We’ve been carving pumpkins, but not in the same way my granddaughters carved their pumpkins over the weekend. Ours are carved in half or quartered for roasting, and we have been feasting on pumpkin pancakes, pumpkin muffins, pumpkin soup, and pumpkin cupcakes. I even put a few spoonfuls of pumpkin in my morning oatmeal with cinnamon and walnuts. Good stuff.
Some of our rituals have changed now that we’re in this new place. The timing of the seasons is somewhat different. The timing of sunrise and sunset are different as well. The sun comes up a little earlier here, and goes down a little earlier, too. The watching hasn’t changed, but the scenery certainly has. Birds that we were used to seeing leave as the autumn wore on when we lived in the Bogs (northeast Ohio) are showing up here because this is their wintering place. Geese, for instance, are flying in rather than out. Red-winged blackbirds are flying around in huge flocks. The Bald Eagles have recently returned and we can usually find one sitting in the tall tree at The Point. The blackbirds like to hang out there, too.
Hiking is another fall ritual for me. With the heat and bugs of summer behind us, I can get out and truly, freely enjoy nature and the beauty that surrounds me. I’m going hiking today (and should be doing just that about the time this post goes out). I’m going to hike around another swamp and have a look at some more cypress trees. Then it’s off to Chincoteague to see the marsh grasses which turn a brilliant shade of red in the fall. I’ll be hanging around Chincoteague to watch this evening’s rocket launch.
Gosh, these post grow long quickly. I’d better wrap things up. I’ll be doing the round-up of your Walktober posts sometime this week. I wanted to give a few people a little more time to get their walks in or their posts done. There are some great walks out there. I knew there would be because ya’all (I’m south of the Mason-Dixon Line now and required to use “ya’all”) are a great bunch of people.
Thank you for visiting today, and joining me on another ramble. Let’s meet at Chincoteague for the sunset and the rocket launch this evening. It’ll be fun. The winds have finally died down a bit, but you’ll probably need a jacket since it will dip down into the 50’s once the sun sets.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: Pumpkin pancakes for breakfast; sunshine and clear blue skies; sorting through spring images and lightening the load on my computer; anticipation; planting some roots and learning to thrive.