The first tickle of a cold -not cool- breeze along my collar, sets my inner compass to the season’s inevitable change. From scorching days and humid nights of summer to crisp blue mornings when the first frost will appear. I know damp rainy dawns lie ahead. The “warning” from that breeze that says soon the wind will arrive with ice in frozen jaws, allows me the time to prepare inside and out. Reminding me that I am part of that revolving cycle of the Earth’s ancient clock. I don’t just need to air out quilts and dig out boots from the tops of high closet shelves. I need to slip along with the spinning planet as she turns further from the Sun. I will slip into a lower gear too.
The Earth will lock soon. But not yet. First fall root vegetables will be stacked on farmer’s markets in wheat -colored baskets. Umber, amber, scarlet and deep yellow mums will arrive on porches. Harbingers for the bright orange pumpkins playing at Jack-O-Lantern soon to come. Windows will be rattled by shifting winds and batting rain. Leaves will begin their sacred transformation and descend to feed the soil. A glorious silent hurrah in sunburst marmalade hues. Assuring far off Spring: She will bloom again.
Iced drinks- a staple of sizzling afternoons now replaced with steaming mugs of tea, coffee, hot chocolate, warm milk and honey. I will remember that it is a blessing to have a hot drink on a cold morning. The big stew pot is roused from its summer sleep. Scrubbed it stands waiting on the stove to feed us through the darker months ahead. The ivory ironstone bowl on the kitchen counter is now filling with shining scarlet apples and delicate pears replacing peaches, berries, and ripe plums.
Mittens and gloves are joyfully reunited. Firewood is chopped and stacked neatly near the back door. The woodstove will happily munch on them till Spring, sending rays of warmth through the house and a glow on ruddy cheeks. Glacial nights I will tuck in and dream of spring planting. Recall lazy drives on back roads, hunting for wild raspberries at the edge of the emerald forest. Remember what it felt like to plunge into an icy lake on a blazing hot day and get the shivers. A slow sip of soup from a clay mug, ignites a small flame in my belly that spreads to fingers and toes.
My hemisphere will be short on daylight but long on days as I dance to the rhythm of the season. Then one morning, I’ll wake to a long-awaited bird song. A hint of heady green -just for a moment-will visit my rosy tipped nose and I will slowly slip into the next familiar chapter to begin the cycle again.