Estivation

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I don’t think I’ve ever been so glad to see the end of summer.

Yes, my little container garden is on its way out, and it’s time to cut the basil and try to root a few pieces. But I have a nice indoor garden of succulents, shamrocks, and philodendrons to sustain me through the winter.

October is my favorite month because of the weather, the falling leaves, and Halloween. A month of horror movies and looking forward to the night when kids and adults get to be someone else for a few hours. I have a new witch dress. I can’t wait to see the costumes this year. I’m not happy with the fact that my town is trying to quietly get rid of the traditional Halloween I loved as a child. “Trunk or Treat” at all the churches is just not a fun concept to me. Several neighbors my age and older put up elaborate Halloween decor and aren’t happy with the dearth of trick-or-treaters . . . but nothing here is as it should be. Thankfully, the neighborhood kids are smart enough to hit the churches, take their candy home, and go back out for a second helping.

October and November are the best months for the type of photography I like best. Mushrooms come up in early October. Birds are easier to photograph when the leaves fall, even though many have already migrated further south. I heard a flock of geese flying low the other day. The man who has started working on our roof and yard said it’s one more sign of a hard winter. He told me that you can predict how many winter storms you’ll have by counting the foggy mornings in August. I’m not looking forward to a hard winter because here that usually means ice storms. I’m trying not to think about it and just enjoy each day, starting today. I can finally get out again during the day because the oppressive heat is fading. Soon we’ll be back on standard time, and maybe I’ll sleep better. Our handyman is going to clean up the little corner of yard that is my sacred space, get rid of the summer weeds, and I’ll be able to take my camera and sit on the fallen dogwood and just . . . be. It’s hard to do that when you feel trapped indoors from June through September.

Some animals hibernate during the summer. The etymology of the word hibernate relates to winter. An animal who spends the summer in a dormant state is estivating. Fall always makes me feel like I’m waking up. I want to write, read, draw, and spend as much time as possible outside with my camera. Autumn is a holy time of year. It’s the time I feel most in touch with the earth. It seems odd since I work so hard at gardening starting in May, but in autumn, I can just be in the out-of-doors. I love a leafless tree, an undressed skeleton. I love the Goddesses of the dark of the year, the Cailleach, the crones, the sharp-faced, sharp-toothed, wild Goddesses that come with the chilly fall winds.

A sweater, a scarf, fingerless gloves, a camera, a fallen tree. I can’t wait.

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