There is no doubt it is autumn now. Warm days, cool nights; garden spiders among the tomatoes; box elder bugs huddling together, seeking warmth. The tomatoes and Brussels sprouts are flourishing. Broccoli and squash are winding down. We’ll transplant the peppers soon and keep them growing indoors throughout the winter.
Of course, this is where it all began – in the cycles of the earth itself. This is how our seasonal calendar and the celebrations of Pagans of old came to be. It is all based on the behavior of nature and the universe, how the plants and animals react to the length of the days and changing seasons.
So the days are getting shorter and the nights are getting longer. Soon farming activities will change. Not cease, because living off the land is a never-ending project, but winter is more restful than the other times of the year. Because we keep a large garden and try to maintain certain plants throughout the winter, we find these gardening activities are still ongoing in the cold months:
- Winterizing the garden by removing all dead plants and raking the mulch over it
- Adding to and turning the compost
- Growing herbs and peppers indoors (peppers are fairly small plants and do really well in containers)
- Preserving and/or using vegetables picked before winter
I wish I could say I spend winter inside doing all of these things, as well as cooking, cleaning, cross-stitching and writing, but I don’t. I still have to get up and go to work each day to pay the (soon to be cut in half!) bills. I’d rather not, but that’s life right now and for the foreseeable future (another year and a half; not long…) until certain events come to pass. What would make it more bearable? A less stressful job closer to home. I’m on the look-out for that!
And despite the mundane things I “must” do to take care of my family, I still embrace fall and winter, and all that these seasons symbolize – rest and rejuvenation in preparation for the next growing season.
This is my planning time. I’m looking ahead, pondering all the factors in my life to see what I can act upon next. At the end of the year – be it the Pagan year or secular year – this culminates with my Tabula Rasa (clean slate) ritual. When I plan for the growing season, I look at many things:
- Planning the spring planting – where will plants go? (Teaser info: next year, we’re enlarging our garden yet again!)
- Reviewing finances
- Determining book releases
- Considering what needs to go into various personal projects, mostly related to genealogy
- Looking at general things we’ll need in life, like the kids’ clothes and what we can expect in the upcoming school year
Then, throughout the year, I get to check off that list of things as I do them. I’m achievement-driven, so this is something I thrive on: goal setting and completion. My way of resting in autumn and winter is to plan and work toward goals for the next growing season. I’m hoping next year to have a slightly less hectic life by finding a less stressful day job closer to home. It would be nice to downshift, so more of my energy can go into personal projects and family time.