“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
~ L.M. Montgomery
My morning yoga begins in darkness, with a single lit candle. Sweet potatoes and squash are back on the menu. Cucumbers are out. Iced herbal teas and fruit shrubs are replaced by mugs of bone broth and steaming cups of chamomile, yarrow, ginger… warming, diffusive herbs that stimulate and move circulation to the periphery. The sound of geese on the river wakes me in my bedroom and I watch them fly in formation as they cut across the sky over my garden. All that is green is fading away as the alchemical dance between chlorophyll and sunlight slowly dissolves, leaving behind the arboreal fire and gold of the temperate zone. The crunch of cottonwood leaves beneath my feet releases a rich, spicy aroma and the taste of salicin in my mouth. The acorns and black walnuts are dropping, ready to be gathered. The afternoon sunlight is the colour of dried goldenrod flowers, and the sunsets of rosehips.
It is Autumn in my part of the world, a magical, transformative season of celebration and descent, roots and woodsmoke. It is the time of fall fairs, harvest festivals and giving thanks. It is a time of setting aside the large agricultural tasks of the year and to lay in the last of the food from the fields. It is a time when darkness grows and the veil between this world and that thins. It is time for honouring our ancestors. It is time for feasting.
For the forager and wildcrafter there is still much to do, fruit and seeds to be gathered yet and root season only just begun. The early nights come as a blessing though. As much as I love summer, the endless days can seem a bit relentless when one works from sun up to sundown trying to capture all that the bright, short season has to offer. There is rest on the horizon and a folding inward to the long sleep of winter. My body is ready for it, longs for it like a lover’s embrace.
Meanwhile, my fingers are stained with elderberry juice, nannyberries and black walnut hulls. Each day I pick the beggarticks seeds from my clothes and brush a twig or leaf from my hair. Every fair and golden day between now and freeze up will be lived fully and treated as the precious gift it is, in this world where there are Octobers.