Farewell Summer, Hello Autumn

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Farewell Summer, Hello Autumn
 Fall, leaves, fall; die, flowers, away;
Lengthen night and shorten day;
Every leaf speaks bliss to me
Fluttering from the autumn tree.
I shall smile when wreaths of snow
Blossom where the rose should grow;
I shall sing when night’s decay
Ushers in a drearier day.
-Emily Brontë

A Season of Community Rejoicing

There comes a time—really like clockwork, right on the edge of August and September—when I know I’m preparing to turn inward. This is interesting timing—when it comes to what’s happening in the natural world, in our yards and gardens, some things are just coming to bloom, or at peak harvest. This is a season of community rejoicing. It’s also when my capacity for socializing, for heat and sun and outside time, dips into its reserves. 

The stuff we’ve worked all season cultivating, like tomatoes and herbs and peppers, are so abundant they’re being handed out to neighbors and strangers alike. Colorado wildflowers are still showing off in the higher altitude alpine regions, but down here in the Front Range, they’re taking a slow curtain call. The air grows softer, and with any luck, the harsh blaze of the sun does, too. We start to get a scattering of cooler nights. 

I need this slowdown as much as the plants and gardens need their fallow season. Dormancy is necessary to the cycle of living—and the change of light and quieter days ahead are welcomed. In the spring, there’s a rush of energy—for projects, plans, people—that sustains us through the warm months, when we’re outside watering our plants and talking to our neighbors. It’s a very visible, public time—and very much needed. Now, we’re getting ready for our own fallow period, a time for restoration in all of its forms. 

I like knowing we’ll eat what’s in the garden until it’s gone, and let the plants go quiet, too. We’ll clear out the beds and clean up the garden to tuck it in for this next cycle. In just a few months—it’s hard to imagine, with our extending summers—there will be snow. 

Hello, Dearest Autumn

But for now! Hello, dearest autumn. With so much attention placed on the purging and organization that comes with the shift from winter to spring, we forget the delicious act of fluffing the nest for fall. We orient towards the home, relieved for the coming rest. At night, we can flirt with leaving the windows open. I’m always waiting for the first bite in the air, when I can pull some of my warmer clothes out from their hiding places. I like to think that this is something many of us do—prepare for the coming season as a collective movement towards it.