I love autumn and winter. My family is amused my favorite seasons are the seasons where things do not grow, but for ice and winds. I love early darkness, a steaming mug of hot tea, cool evenings, introspection, and falling leaves. I love time for poetry, music, medicine making, stitching and drawing, thinking and resting. I love time for planning, for sketching, for wondering, for hoping. I love fleece and flannel, blankets and seeing my breath. I thank the world for summers where we can grow food, fruit, nourish and sustain ourselves. But I love having breaks and having time to change. Summer is the extrovert, and autumn and winter are introverts. Like me.
When seasons change, the light changes. As the summer transitions the light is golden. As the leaves turn gold the sky shifts. It gives us a chance to take a break. Think about what to try next. What to do differently. To plan new ideas and projects and to have time to think about them. To have a new opportunity to change, to reinvent, to try again. To rest with the darkness and rejuvenate for another year.
This autumn I am turning another year older. 54. The older women get it seems the less we talk about it, and the less we share what the number is. 54 feels a little big to me. 50 was pretty simple, but now mid-something, not early something, but halfway to the next something. No longer young, not old, in the invisible in between. Autumn is a change to start anew with the season, and start a new year. I like to live with intention and not obligation, but that can be hard to do. Once we commit to something we feel a little stuck in it, even if after a while it doesn't fit right anymore, raggedy hem, short sleeves, itchy. But we continue. Every year I get older I realize that I have less energy for those things that don't fit anymore, and that I am more aware of the ticking clock of time taking me from the things that are meaningful if something becomes not the right thing for me anymore. Autumn is a time to slow down, think about where I am, and where I want to be. To use all of the medicine I grew all summer. To drink the tea of the herbs I grew with my own two hands. To dream.
So while many people are dreading the end of summer, I embrace it. I change the pillows on the couch. I watch the sun set earlier every evening. I look at the stars. I clean the oven and pull out the blankets. I bake bread. I pound the cinnamon, ginger, clove, and allspice. I write in my journal. I stitch the fabric. I turn the pages. I gather the bark. I mark time by when I can first see my breath in the early morning. I carry my basket and gather seeds. I dig the roots of fall herbs and make root medicine. I listen to the sound of leaves under my muck boots and wrap my scarf around my neck, twisting and turning in warmth and reminders of the season to come. Welcome, September. I have been waiting for you.
I am a certified aromatherapist, clinical herbalist, permaculture designer, organic gardener, plant conservationist, photographer, writer, designer, artist, nature lover, health justice activist, whole foods maker, and mother of two young adults in south central Wisconsin.
©2007-23 Denise Cusack, all photos and text. Feel free to share my posts on FB or Twitter or online media or pin on Pinterest (thank you!), but please keep the links back to my website intact (meaning please do not take or copy my images off of this website and share them unattributed or without linking back here or use them without permission). Thank you! :)
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