Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Autumn is here. It's early stages yet, but it's definitely started. Our days have been cool, with highs in the 60s. (Which still means t-shirt weather for us, but pants rather than shorts and capris.) The leaves are starting to turn golden on most of the trees. The fireweed is having its last hurrah, with splashes of brilliant purple-pink color around.
When I was cutting up cherries the other night to freeze, I left the back door open for the pets. Suddenly, I heard this incredible cacophony of honking and I had to go see. The cat sat next to me and we both watched the sky as a large flock of geese in their V went flying southward. It was quite beautiful, actually, with the tree in our back yard starting to turn yellow and a slight tinge of pink to the cloudy sky from the setting sun. (It was past 10 o'clock.) Even the noise, as jarring as it can be, sounded beautiful to my ears.
Autumn is such a bittersweet time. It means the end of summer's abundance (or, if you're lucky, over-abundance) and the last mad dash trying to make sure everything is prepared for all of the long, cold months ahead. Is everything ready? Do we need to stock up on any food products that might be hard to get? Is there anything else we can do to make the house warmer? It's like being a part of some ancient ritual common to all animals, these preparations for winter. I know why so many composers have written pieces about the different seasons, and why of those so many end up with the feel of a dance. The turning of the year really is like a never-ending dance and we keep twirling around to mother nature's tune. My job is not to regret when the tune changes, but to change my dance to go with it.
Autumn is my favorite season. I love the riot of colors, and the activity that comes from every direction. Seeing the geese in flight left me with an amazing sense of peace. (I think it just left the cat with a primal desire to hunt something, and the knowledge that in his cowardliness he wouldn't do it.) Summer and all of its joys are ending, but now we get to anticipate the quieter activity of winter. Though it might feel like it, it's not really a lessening of activity, instead switching to different activities. I haven't knitted all summer, but I'm sure I'll start again when the first snow falls. I'll feel less of a need to run around "taking advantage" of every waking moment, and instead allow myself the time to enjoy quiet (weekend) mornings with a mug of tea and a book.
I get this wonderful sense of anticipation at this time of year. It's as if there's something good right around the corner waiting for me. (Which, this year, is perfectly true! 2 1/2 weeks! But I'll feel this way even after the wedding, after the honeymoon.) I don't know why, but I never feel this way in spring when it would probably be more apropos. Spring has more of an anxious feel to it. At the end of winter, I really just want summer to get here already. In autumn I take the time to enjoy the crisp days after the heat of summer, the transition to warmer clothes and heartier meals.
And, of course, I'm a busy bee stocking up on everything I can think of. Tonight is a wedding chore free night, so I'm going to focus on getting some of my summer squashes grated and frozen, my rhubarb chopped up and also frozen. I might even start pulling out my potatoes. (I'm still mad that I didn't find any more tires to keep hilling them. I should have had at least two more, probably three more tires on the stack. Next year.)
I didn't do everything I wanted to this summer (like canning tomatoes, so we could have homemade tomato sauce all winter) but those worries are now behind me. What's done is done. I'm going to enjoy autumn to its fullest, because it doesn't last nearly long enough.

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