I gaze out my bedroom window and hear yet another golden apple hit the ground. The vines that hug the cabin and climb up the screens are heavy with unripe grapes and the light that is filtered through the trees in front of the brook is luminous – lime green tipped in gold – my too sensitive eyes are blessedly well protected by this canopy of late summer leaves.
The maples on the hill are losing chlorophyll and are painting the hollow with splashes of bittersweet orange and red. The dead spruces by the brook will probably collapse this winter providing Black bears with even more precious ants and larvae to eat in early spring. I only hope that some bears will survive the fall slaughter to return to this black bear sanctuary; in particular two beloved young ones… Mushrooms abound, amanitas, boletes morels, puff balls, the latter two finding their way into my salads. The forest around my house is in an active state of becoming with downed limbs and sprouting fungi becoming next year’s soil. The forest floor smells so sweet that all I can imagine is laying myself down on a bed of mosses to sleep and dream.
The garden looks as tired as I am; lily fronds droop, yellowing leaves betraying the season at hand. Bright green pods provide a startling contrast to fading scarlet bee balm. Wild asters are abundant and goldenrod covers the fields with a bright yellow garment. Every wild bush has sprays of berries. My crabapple trees are bowed, each twig heavy with winter fruit.
Most of the birds have absconded to the fields that are ripe with the seeds of wild grasses. The mourning doves are an exception – they gather together each dawn waiting patiently for me to fill the feeder. In the evening I am serenaded by soft cooing. One chicken hawk hides in the pine, lying in wait for the unwary…Just a few hummingbirds remain…whirring wings and twittering alert me to continued presence as they settle into the cherry tree to sleep, slipping into a light torpor with these cool September nights…
Spiders are spinning their egg cases, even as they prepare to die. I can still find toads hopping around the house during the warmest hours of the day. Although the grass is long I will not mow it for fear of killing these most precious and threatened of species. I am heavily invested in seeing these toads burrow in to see another spring. My little frogs sit on their lily pads seeking the warmth of a dimming afternoon sun. Soon they too will slumber below fallen leaves or mud.
I am surrounded by such beauty, and so much harvest bounty that even though I am exhausted I take deep pleasure out of each passing day of this glorious month of September, the month of my birth. Unlike many folks, for me, moving into the dark of the year feels like a blessing.
Another leave – taking is almost upon me, and I am having trouble letting go of this small oasis that I have tended with such care for more than thirty years…
I don’t know what this winter will bring to my modest cabin whose foundation is crumbling under too much moisture and too many years of heavy snow. In the spring extensive excavation will begin. A new foundation must be poured and this work will destroy the gardens I have loved, the mossy grounds around the south end of the house that I have nurtured for so long.
In this season of letting go I must find a way to lay down my fears, and release that which I am powerless to change. Somehow… I have no idea what I will return to except that I have made it clear that none of my beloved trees be harmed.
I am grateful that Nature is mirroring back to me so poignantly that letting go is the way through: That this dying can provide a bedrock foundation for another spring birth. As a Daughter of the Earth I lean into ancient wisdom, praying that this exhausted mind and body will be able to follow suit.
Sara is a naturalist, ethologist ( a person who studies animals in their natural habitats) (former) Jungian Pattern Analyst, and a writer. She publishes her work regularly in a number of different venues and is presently living in Northern New Mexico.