As I sat outside this morning throwing the ball for Leo, I looked at the ground and noticed that the first leaves had begun to fall. The air was crisp, and I could feel that, a few days after the autumn equinox, the fall season was truly here.
Chad and I like to acknowledge the change of the seasons as a way to mark time, and to celebrate nature’s cycles.
One of the ways we celebrate is by going for a hike to one of our favorite lookout points on spring and fall equinoxes, as well as winter and summer solstices. We take these opportunities to witness the sun setting at a different place depending on the season, and to re-calibrate our mindset about our position in the vast universe.
For me, imagining myself as a small speck on a large planet rotating around a much larger star has always been comforting. It helps me gain perspective and gives me a chance to let up some of the pressure that I habitually put on my self to get things done.
Transitioning to a new season also makes me want to adjust my cooking style. Salads are becoming less frequent, and soups more so.
Did you know that autumn is the best time to plant a tree?
Planted at this time of the year, trees will have time to let their roots get established without sending energy into leaf production as they would if planted in the spring.
A few years ago, we planted several fruit trees, two honey locusts, and some berry bushes right before Thanksgiving. This year we harvested a small batch of plums from one of those trees, and earlier, over the summer, some currants and gooseberries from those bushes.
We also recently harvested a big bowl full of grapes from our grapevines.
This year, we’re adding to our orchard with two new cherry trees.
And cherry trees aren’t the only thing we’re planting this fall.
Planting spring bulbs is a new autumn ritual I’m starting this year. I always enjoy seeing tulips and daffodils in early spring, sometimes before all the snow has melted.
This spring I noticed the pollinators out and about before there were any wild flowers (or garden flowers) for them to forage from.
Next spring they will have daffodils and crocus early in the spring to help feed them.
And the crocus will provide me with my own personal supply of saffron for cooking.
Along with these gardening plans, as the air starts to cool, my thoughts turn to preparing for winter.
There are tools to put away, hoses to winterize, and the harvest from our summer crops to bring in.
And to make sure we have fresh greens to nourish us once the garden is put to bed, I’m growing microgreens, which I’ll grow in a terrarium in one of our sunny, south-facing windows.
While summer may be the season where I feel most relaxed, autumn is always welcome, hinting at more homebound activities, ones that I look forward to returning to after the busyness of summer.