“The veil is thin” as the last of summer’s abundance is celebrated, canned, and stored in root cellars. The harvested corn fields reveal naked maple stands off in the distance. The pale blue, cool sky meets the precise horizon along the mustard-yellow fields after the second cutting of hay weeks ago. It’s like an oil painting of complimentary colours before the oncoming winter’s bareness changes the landscape, the artist’s palette. And it’s a time when connection to ancestors, to spirit is so palpable.
Tracing the rolling hills with my eyes like reading an old story, I can feel the connection between land, mind, heart and spirit. Fresh snow caps the roadside freeze-dried goldenrod with white fluffy hats, insulates the roofs of bird houses, and dusts the bare fields in stripes, as though marking the many, many generations that have come before us.
I squint out of my kitchen window while preparing dinner one day in the late afternoon darkness. I’ve lit my candle in gratitude for the food: the plants, animals and all the hands that helped bring it to us; and in honour of the traditions of cooking and nourishing our families. The snow is sparkling in the circle of the porch light shining on the mound of bare soil where hosta stems lie dormant.
I think of the 25-foot-square massively-overgrown garden we inherited with our new house and how it is now bare, tilled, raked and ready for a winter’s rest under the snow before our first planting in spring. I think about how our hands will plant, weed and harvest food for our family and friends. How we’ll embody our ancestors as we do this in rhythm with nature’s cycles.
For now, I sit back and sip a cup of peppermint tea. Thinking of that particular plant’s medicine. And the medicine in honouring our ancestors.