The autumn season has felt slow and luxurious this year. In Maine, the days have been blessed with summer’s lingering warmth even as the days grow shorter and the nights colder. The extended garden season has meant that we were still eating cherry tomatoes and strawberries through last week. It is an oddity to taste the sunlight stored in the tender red flesh as other plants are going to seed and the leaves on the surrounding trees are turning red, gold, brown, and yellow. But as I let the sweet berry mush linger in my mouth, I recognize the goodness of Creation and know that it is an invitation to remember that I too belong to this cycling.
The protracted late summer/early fall weather has also meant that I have continued to put out generative energy. This urge to be productive is not just in the garden; As a mother, a wife, a daughter, and an administrator, I readily respond to the urge to produce, to contribute, to throw my arms open wide to harness all the love available to me and offer it back to the world. This is, after all, what I am here for. Yet the longer nights and shorter days are telling me it is also time to slow the pace, to send some energy to the roots, and let the seeds that have been scattered this season burrow into the soil. My soul is yearning for the nesting, the grounding, that autumn invites. It is time to turn inward and tend the inner knowing that quietly sustains and informs through every season. I am tired and ready for the rest of long, cold winter nights. It is coming.
This week we observe Samhain, the mid-point between the Autumnal Equinox and the Winter Solstice. With each day, we are moving ever closer to the longest night of the year. The veil between the worlds is thin and life and death engage vividly in their slow, loving dance.
At sunrise, I will light a candle to celebrate the season of abundance and take stock in the gifts of the light. I will offer gratitude to the earth that sustains me and the plants and animals that share my home-space and nourish my body.
At sunset, I will light the candle again to welcome the arriving darkness and will again extend my gratitude. This time my prayers of thanksgiving are for the ancestors who came before me, the teachers who have guided me, and the Mystery that unites us all.
The gifts of all that was and all that will be mingle in All That Is. I see it in the garden and the forest. I feel it in my body. I know it in my heart. And again, I sigh and give thanks.