“To everything there is a season”……….. this beautiful poem in Ecclesiastes tells us that there is a season for everything to happen in nature, the right time to reap or sew, build up or tear down.
This instinctive part of our nature is never felt as strongly as in fall. As the leaves turn gold and red, the birds grow restless and ready to leave for warmer climbs and the garden puts on its marvellous show of fall colours, there is a feeling of expectation in the air, a feeling of getting ready for something.
There have been a pair of squirrels in our yard, busily collecting acorns and walnuts for the past few weeks, they feel the urgency of fall reminding them it is time to prepare for winter. I too feel the need to ready myself and home for the approach of winter.
Summer is truly behind us, the weather is perfect now the intense heat is gone, really spectacular displays of colour adorn local yards as the roses put on a marvellous show, the asters bloom their jewel colours from every pot and border and the leaves start their change to fiery gold before they dry up and float to the ground.
Overhead hundreds of cranes swirl around the skies, trying to find the best thermal to carry them south, they always look so disorganised as they swoop and swirl, filling the air with their incessant cry, they too are restless and needing to fill their desire to reach their winter home. Smaller birds gather in the nearby maple trees, amassing huge numbers for their southern flight. All nature is restless.
This same inner turmoil drives me to clean out the garden, pulling out straggly flowers and consigning them to the compost heap. I also pull out vegetables that will not ripen more than they already have. A line of yellow tomatoes sit on a windowsill, slowly turning ripe, lots more are stored in a dark place, as I encourage then to give me the taste of summer for a little bit longer. All veggies are now frozen, ready for winter soups while rhubarb, blackberries and stone fruits will give us summer flavours all winter long. This need to stock up for winter must be part of our heritage, springing from when our ancestors put down food for the cold months or went hungry. The closeness of modern day shops and year round availability of food does not take away the need to prepare for the worst.
The house is cleaned thoroughly and all furniture polished, for some reason now the long summer days are over and more time is spent indoors, I need my surroundings to be clean and cosy. The “anything goes” feeling of the summer has gone, if I have to spend time indoors, it needs to be clean.
Outdoors Dave has been splitting logs and I have been piling them in the wood shed, huge mounds of logs give us a satisfying feeling of being ready for the winter.
Beds are changed and heavier blankets come out of storage, quilts are aired on the clothes line to give them the freshness that ensures sound sleep.
There are still a few weeks before the dark nights arrive and the sound of wind battering the windows makes us snuggle down into the warm bed but our den is ready for winter hibernation, the larder will keep us fed through the winter and I feel secure in the thought that my efforts will keep us content until the spring rolls round again.