By November in Maine a majority of the harvest is far behind and tasks shift to prepare for the winter ahead. Pulling posts and fences that helped the garden grow. Coiling the hose to store away before it freezes stiff on the rack. Warm hats and gloves resting on their shelves, ready to be called into duty. The brilliant mix of foliage we get to enjoy so briefly, now lays spread across the forest floor. Only the bronze of the rugged oak leaves remain hanging, in contrast to the towering green of the pines. We follow nature and strip the yard down to the bare essentials lest it be crushed under the weight of winter snow or frozen, cracked and ruined by its cold.
The Sun peaks quickly and falls even faster as shadows stretch before our eyes like time lapse film and are absorbed into the encroaching darkness. I stand in the field and watch a truck roll eerily past, the blaze orange of hunters vests and caps aglow across the cab. Trying to catch a glimpse of an elusive whitetail, they move slowly and disappear down the road. Smoke whisps lazily from the chimney as a slow burning fire flickers just enough to beat back the chill.
The days wear along and the crisp air hangs quiet like just before the storm. The pantry shelves are lined with our stores which sit still until called upon to nourish and fill hungry bellies. Autumn. Deep Autumn holds intrigue like the mysterious adventure that is death itself. Death and life and survival all colliding and intertwined and one scarcely discernible from the other.
Recently, we entered into that realm and had the privilege of holding that life in our hands. The hide of a deer gathered quietly by a friend, where it lay motionless on the side of the road. He understood how we might use such a find and we stretched it with all that we had.
As part of this ceremony, we walked as gently as we could across the crunching leaves and sticks and pretended to be that deer. We followed hoof marks along a faint trail and listened as quietly as we could for what we might hear. What we heard in those moments was as unique as each listening ear. Opening our hearts to understand this life.
Immersed in all that is real.
As these days wear on and daylight wanes, I hold close to all that is truth.
Like the mind of a child. Free to think and wonder and fear and be brave.
These tasks of preparation we now undertake are a meditative fuel for what lies ahead. Winter.