Monthly Archives: September 2012

Harvest

Autumnal wedding cake (not mine) from http://www.saltytart.com

The harvest is upon us.  The first frost warnings are going out.  The equinox has past and it is officially Autumn.

There is something about September, about the harvest, about beginnings and endings that touches my heart.  In the whole of there year it is at this time when I am most aware that everything is a circle, a cycle.

Harvest celebration

We have much of the grains in,the apples are ripening each variety in its turn and after the frost can start on the wine grapes.  The pumpkins and other winter squashes begin to make their appearance in the grocery stores.  It is a time of bounty where anything is possible and everything is ripe and available.

But it is an ending time as well.  The summer is truly gone (although we need that frost to mark a true Indian Summer).  The leaves are beginning to turn and slowly fall from the trees.  This is the week from Rosh Hashanah to Yom Kippur the high holiday of the Jewish calendar.  The New Year and also a time of atonement and forgiveness.

Truly harvest is about choice.  When do you gather in your crops?  What do you chose to use immediately, what to use soon, and what to pack up in freezing or canning for the winter ahead?  What do you keep for yourself and what do you let go, either back to compost, to seed or to sell?

What to do with all that bounty?

The metaphor of the harvest may have meant more when our culture was closer to our agricultural roots, but it is still applicable.  It is a time for review.  A time to make choices.  A time to review one’s live and to make adjustments to get on “the right course.”   It is time to rid yourself of excess baggage.  Throw away the summer clothes that are too worn to make it through another season, dust off the old winter coats and see if they were stored well or if they too need replacing.

The baggage comes in relationships too, and hence the Jewish tradition of asking forgiveness for one’s wrongful actions.  It is in September that we realize that summer romance isn’t going to last.  It is in September that we begin to fret about starting that diet in preparation for November’s feasting.

What treasures from the year are you choosing to take with you into the winter, and what things have come to the end of their usefulness?  What behaviors do not serve your greater purpose?  Where can you make “adjustments” to the course of your life?  Are there people that you have wronged that would appreciate an attempt to make things right?

Orion is my teacher in good natured acceptance. He will tell you that everybody thinks he’s great – because he is.

Trains

The train hugs the cliffs around a curve.

I’ve always enjoyed taking the train.  I grew up walking distance from the tracks.  I remember going to sleep to the train whistle as it passed in the night.  The train tracks were the shortcut to everywhere out of the neighborhood.  In grade school it was an adventure to walk the tracks to our local McDonalds.  In Junior high and high school we’d take the tracks from the suburbs into Minneapolis and catch a bus downtown.

I’ve ridden the Shinkansen from Tokyo to Kyoto.  I’ve ridden the train from Bangkok to Chiang Mai.  I’ve had a Eurail pass and traveled through Holland, Germany and Switzerland (with a little stop in Austria just to say we’d been.)  I’ve taken the train from Edinburgh to Salisbury.  I’ve taken the train from New Delhi to Jaipur to Agra (are they still going by those names?)  I’ve taken the commuter train from NYC to DC.

The train we took to Montana probably looked a lot like this one built in the 1940’s.

My sisters don’t really remember the train ride we took to vacation at Glacier Park in Montana.  The old Empire builder was a little scary for a small girl walking between the cars and watching the rails go by underfoot.  I may remember the trip because I got stuck there.  The door was too heavy for me to open from the moving platform.  Luckily it wasn’t long before someone else came through.

We took the Empire builder again with a 3 year old special needs child.  Orion was particularly sensitive to noise so we went first class.  We had a lovely sleeper car for the trip all the way to Seattle.  This weekend Orion tried to convince everyone that he remembered it when we visited the historic Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway.

It was a beautiful day and Orion loves people and motion.  He talked to anyone who would listen about his “experience” on the rails.  It was a complicated day for the volunteers who run the restored line.  They got a call about a freight train coming through.  Since freight has priority on American tracks they had to move the train out of the way, which delayed our boarding time.  They also had a group of cyclists riding the train so when they moved the train back they parked to make it easy to load the bikes in the baggage car.

VIP in the baggage car.

Orion patiently waited until everyone had climbed aboard.  Then they moved the train again – just for us!  They had to get the box car we were riding in aligned with the platform so they could use the portable lift.  This was old fashioned technology – a hand crank!  I told Orion he must be a VIP.  It isn’t everyone who has a whole train moved just for them!

There are trains that I dream of taking.  The Orient Express from Paris into Asia Minor, the Palace on Wheels in Rajasthan, the Queensland Rail across the outback all promise adventure and fantasy.  I probably look every year at the possibility of taking the Amtrak to New Orleans.

The old train depot

 

 

 

The thing about riding the train is that it really IS the Journey not the Destination.  It is in that spirit that we ride the historic train for an afternoon.  Not so much an adventure as a chance to sit and enjoy the scenery and dream.

cattail from the train

Batteries

Just a little “puffy” around the eyes.

The weather has been delightful, sunny and not too hot.  The winds have been breezy and busily tossing all the dust and other allergens into the air.  I have been popping pills and dropping eye drops in my eyes.  I look like I have pink eye without the eye drops.  The dark circles make me look like I haven’t slept in weeks.  It’s really just the fall allergies.

I don’t feel bad.  I just don’t feel good.  It’s like my batteries are running low.  Nothing is moving quite as quickly as I would like.  I can’t work up the level of enthusiasm for a project that is required to actually get to it.  I find myself losing hours sipping on tea and scratching at my face.  My reading is even slow, given the condition of my eyes I suppose that’s not surprising.

Not that I haven’t been busy!  I did a podcast (one of these day’s I’ll figure out how to put links into this blog) for the Priestess Show.  The topic was disabilities and the show is archived at paganstonight.com.  I’ll be on again later this month as we will continue to discuss the topic.

old dead batteries

Orion and I spent all afternoon Saturday in Minnehaha Park visiting our friends at Pagan Pride.  I’d be writing about that, but it’s not just my batteries that are low.  I forgot to pack an extra set for the camera.  It’s extremely frustrating when I go out specifically to take pictures for a blog I’m writing in my head only to find the camera doesn’t work.  You’d think I’d learn to check.

Afterwards we decided to go out to eat at the restaurant where Karina (my daughter) is working as a waitress.  It was really nice to see her and the food was good.  Fat Lorenzo’s is an Italian restaurant.  All kinds of cheese and pasta.  I even had a beer.  Of course their speciality is the gelato.  You’d think that I might pay attention to food that could aggravate my allergies when they act up?  Why, that would be like actually checking the batteries in my camera.  It never seems to occur to me when it matters.

 

 

 

Orion and the Gelato cooler at Fat Lorenzo’s

Some of the things I do when my batteries are low:

reading (although when it’s the eyes that itch that’s a little tough)

Sipping hot tea (The Republic of Tea makes a green tea honey & ginseng that’s particularly nurturing)

Making myself GET OUT even if it’s just to get groceries (of course a day in the park could be considered excessive)

Taking a long bath (The library doesn’t appreciate it when their books join me in the tub)

Meditation (Distinct from going back to bed, which I also do occasionally but I find mediation to be more productive)

Cooking something I REALLY want (I’ve been thinking about crab bisque, but there’s that darn dairy again)

What do you do when your batteries run low?

Migration

Hints of fall color on the sumac

Labor Day has so many meanings, but it always seems to signal the end of summer.  The fall migration has started.  We may have been ignoring it for the last few weeks, but once Labor Day has passed, the move is inevitable.

It’s odd this shift into an autumnal attitude.  The weather is still hot, the air full of allergens and the days are still (for a few weeks more) longer than the nights.  I suspect some of it is living far enough north that the threat of winter is a little more urgent.  We’ve had some pretty crazy weather the past few years, but I remember the Halloween blizzard – over 20″ of snow Oct 31-Nov 1.  I know that in Minnesota, Trick or Treating involves coats over or under the costumes most years.

Mom’s tomatoes are nearly done

I also think some of it is cultural.  I don’t have anyone in household starting school this fall.  Still, there is something in my world view that says things begin at this time of year.  It’s always been a good time for me to start new projects.  Diets and exercise that I start in the fall have a greater chance of success.  My best relationship memories, all the way back to high school, involve walking through the fallen leaves.

Storing up for the winter

The geese won’t really start moving until we get closer to frost.  There is an increase in food gathering, but hibernation is a Thanksgiving event.  Still the migration has started.  The hummingbirds, first to go, are  diminished in their ranks.  Even our state bird, the loon, makes its way to warmer climates.

Ready for the school migration.

We may no longer be a migratory people, but we migrate in our habits.  We stop planning the backyard BBQ’s and start planning the tail-gating parties.   We run the winter coats to the cleaners and send the children back to their regularly scheduled days.  Our diets begin to shift from corn on the cob and melons to squashes and apples.  The air conditioner may still run during the day, but the windows are open at night, or even closed to keep the warmth in against the evening breezes.

Only one hummingbird where 20 used to be common.

Is there a migration in your life this fall?

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