"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Turn the Page

I was out of town for three days, and when I got back, it was autumn. The temperature dropped twenty degrees and a chilly, saturating rain fell for 48 hours straight. Mud, which we haven't seen in months, manifested itself and the dogs tracked it all over the house. The pears on the pear tree swelled in the sudden moisture and began to fall. When the clouds blew away and the sky reappeared, it was a cold blue that did not seem at all the same as the soft summer sky of just a week ago.

The earliest leaves (the vine maples) had just begun to turn when I left on thursday last. Now, the big leaf maples have started to look yellow and ragged. Driving to my sister's house today, I noticed that the hills south of town have - as a whole - changed color. They now have a rusty tinge and have entirely lost the fresh green of young leaves. School starts tomorrow - or it was supposed to; the teachers went out on strike.

Summer blew by so fast this year. Summer was cram-packed. We went to Mexico for 3 weeks (Remote Post, 7/4/10 (Mexican Fireworks));then Dad came to stay for 3 weeks. I took the kids to Mom's place for a long weekend (Where I've Been....) and then I went to my brother's for another long weekend. And all of a sudden, that was it. It was over. Everything is suddenly all mushrooms and slugs.
Well, I should try to remember, it's only September 6th. Around here, September is usually a very nice month. It could easily get hot again before the autumn rot sets in for good. I hope so. I am just not ready for the endless damp; for the mold and the mildew; for the dark grey days that last a mere seven hours; for the rain that never stops and the mud that could swallow a cow without leaving a trace.

I am not ready for Hecate to take over the world. I am not ready for Persephone to sink into the earth and become Queen of the Underworld. I am not ready for the Dark Mother to make the Earth deliquesce like a pumpkin rotting on the porch three weeks after Halloween. I never even made up the household altar for late summer harvest.

That's probably why I feel unready. I have neglected the sacred calendar this summer. Suddenly I feel a very strong urge to go clean the living room and decorate the altar with the last of the the zucchini (which I picked an hour ago) and the first of the pears (likewise). It is still only the middle of blackberry season - I should get out and pick enough for a couple of pies. Likewise blueberries. There is still plenty of time to go get a bunch more blueberries.

Also I haven't done hardly any canning this year - asparagus in April and pickles in July was about the extent of it. I need to find a cheap source of many many tomatoes and can up a shitload of sauce. No wonder I feel out of sorts and off kilter. I really AM unready, in the literal sense. My pantry is virtually bare, at the very season when it should be bursting with abundance. I haven't done the labor appropriate to the season. I am nervous and unhappy because some part of my brain is shouting at me "you are all going to starve!"

Okay, so I have my work cut out for me. Re-establish the sacred calendar. Clean and sanctify my altar. Get some fucking food in the pantry. Celebrate Demeter amply, lest she transform into the hag of famine. Placate. Placate.


Rosa said...

It's really hard to keep up with religious observances because they'r enot public - they're a kind of self-care, so they get pushed out by everyone else's needs.

I am working on reclaiming our holidays, too - our extended, Christian families choose to pretend like we're Christian and expect us to participate in all of their holidays. Those are also the only big family get-togethers. So we get dragged into Thanksgiving/Christmas/Easter and have no time for the quarters and cross-quarters.

I pre-emptively declared that we're staying home for Thanksgiving and Easter this year, and now my mother-not-in-law has decided since we don't want to travel, she's coming here. I am not hiding our religious observance from her so her son is going to have to man up and have the talk about not being Catholic.

Aimee said...

Good luck Rosa! We here do celebrate the Christian holidays but we acknowledge and pay attention to their pre Christian origins and meanings. I like celebrations with family and if I celebrate multiple traditions it means more! But I like your insight about observance being like self care. That feels very true. I find that if I neglect my altar too long I start to get depressed and run down. Cleaning it and decorating it yesterday made me feel a thousand times better.

polly's path said...

that is so interesting to me, Aimee. I hope you (soon)do a post about the sacred calendar and observances you are mentioning in your post. I love learning about how others do things like that. I feel so different than the rest of my family in regards to our beliefs. I too get wrapped up in holidays I might not really celebrate if it were up to me...the meaning of them, anyway.

Rowan said...

I'm glad you set up the altar. I think we should be changing it and maintaining it more often. It makes me happy.
Also, the household altar changes with the seasons, while mine doesn't really. you saw that I cleaned up my altar again and made it nice, but you'll notice it's not seasonal, just personal. I like it that way, but I also like watching the household altar change.
Remember the harvest is not over! There will be apples and nuts and pumpkins and all kinds of things all through October. Autumn is my favorite season. I think of the season changing to cold as a rest, and it also means a new year is coming. I'm thinking of Samhain, the witch's new year. The year has to be cold and dark before it can blossom.
I'll help you pick more berries. :)

Penelope said...

Aimee, you have such a good teenager! You two are well suited for one another. Rowan, you have such a good mom!