Friday, 12 October 2012
Ponderings this day . . .
October has always been known as the season of the Hunter's Moon, a name given to it by Native North Americans . . . long, long ago . . . not that we get to see a lot of it over here in the UK, but when we do, and it is full . . . it casts a pure brilliance over the countryside. You could sit in your bedroom in the dark and almost be able to read by the light it casts through the bedroom window. The light of this Hunter's Moon gives a special glow to all below, gilding the falling leaves.
I hold a particular fondness in my heart for the smell of fallen leaves . . . musty and damp . . . it is a smell peculiar to autumn and one that I love dearly. It mingles with the smell of blue woodsmoke from fires that are now lit in the cooling evenings . . . and the smell of burning coal. This was a smell I had not truly experienced before I moved over here to the UK . . . but a smell I am most familiar with now, and a smell I have come to love and appreciate almost as much as those of fallen leaves and woodsmoke.
Back home we would be raking and piling leaves . . . often damp and heavy from an autumn rain . . . scraping them into the compost pile, or banking them against the foundations of our house as further insulation against the winter's cold and snows that surely must soon follow. I have fond memories of childhood autumns just such as this . . . embroidered too with the smell of burning leaves wafting through the cold damp air. October truly is the jewel set in the hands of Father time . . .
The month of Thanksgiving . . . and Halloween . . . of Harvest Home and the Hunter's Moon. A walk in the woods brings with it the crunch of fallen acorns cracking beneath our feet . . . hard little nobbles that almost hurt as we walk upon them. The hedgerows abundantly filled with the chatter of birds in the Spring . . . are now silent, and except for the crows which soar over our heads and call back and forth to each other from the tops of the emptying trees . . . there is not much sign of life to be seen . . . except for the odd rustle beneath the fallen leaves of tiny woodland creatures hurrying home at the end of day.
We do not migrate as the birds do . . . but I notice a big change in the rhythm of our lives when the summer season ebbs . . . along with the cooler nights and that autumn haze in the air, comes a sense of urgency . . . a quickening in the blood, a certain restlessness. There are projects now which must be completed . . . which I have come to think of as our own form of migration . . . the stacking of the firewood, kindling chopped and waiting at the ready, foundations banked against the impending cold weather . . . summer screens are removed and glass takes their place. The garden is cleared of dead plants and debris . . . broken flower pots discarded. We wait for sunny days and then work diligently . . . for one never knows when another one will gift us. I understand now that old saying . . . "Make hay whilst the sun shines" . . .
This is the time when suppers change. Gone are the salads and cold plates of summer. In their place are hearty soups and stews . . . warm puddings, and apple pies. I love these autumn evenings . . . sometimes we walk, and our hearts are cheered by the golden glow we see beaming out from the windows of our neighbors . . . and, if we are lucky, the brilliance of the Hunter's Moon. Afterwards we fall into our chairs, tired and replete with the ministrations of our days. It is a good tired we think, as we warm our toes by flickering flame of fire. There is that sound of wind echoing down the chimney into the room and we think to ourselves . . . life is good, so very . . . very good.
May I always feel this way.
Simmering in The English Kitchen today . . . Curried Tomato Soup.
"Have regular hours for work and play; make each day both useful and pleasant, and prove that you understand the worth of time by employing it well. Then youth will be delightful, old age will bring few regrets, and life will be a beautiful success."
~Louisa May Alcott