Fall is Coming
This morning I have to put on my hoodie to take Stella, the dog, for a walk. Before heading out the front door, I first go out the back door to start a fire in our woodfired oven. As the smoke slowly rises, and the flames flare around the kindling, I feel that first sense of autumn. The squirrels in my backyard drop walnuts right and left with heavy thuds, scurry in a frenzy to get them, and then gnaw loudly on the skins and shells when they do find them. The coolness in the air is not uncomfortable; it invigorates me. And, as Stella and I start on that walk, we both feel more perky: that fresh air gives us a little shot of energy.
As August winds down, my thoughts turn to fall. I start storing food for the cooler days. The canned peaches and pickles are already on the pantry shelf soon to be joined by tomato sauce and salsa, and applesauce won’t be far behind. I try to get my fill of fresh corn and melons before it’s too late.
But it’s not just me. At OxBow Park, the grasses are taking on color and bending low. Leaves on trees are losing their bright green youth and transitioning to faded summer glory. The milkweeds are bursting out of their pods. Here and there, berries are ripening and falling. The insects sing their loudest song. Nature is giving us its all and putting out its last fruits before falling silent. I imagine it as a letting go of sorts. After growing and producing and giving all it can, there is a time for slowing down and breathing, in and out, and letting, as they say, nature take its course...
As summer turns into fall, I sit here, amazed again at how the the changing seasons keep me rooted. They reassure me that there is some order in our universe, despite the havoc that we humans can wreak upon it. They remind that a force beyond my control is continually at work, and I am just a small piece of the puzzle. They show me that there is a time for giving your all and a time for resting. It’s a balance that I want to emulate, and it’s been going on for millions of years.
So as I approach September, I know a little bit of where I’m headed. Sweaters, long sleeved shirts, and maybe even a scarf or two. Pumpkins, Brussels sprouts, mulled cider, and lots of apples. After the colour in the garden, colour on the trees. Shorter days, longer nights. Baseball winds down, football winds up. Soups and comfort food. But, for now, I will squeeze out the last bit of summer and enjoy it for all that it’s worth.