There is no canning going on in my kitchen because I don’t have enough produce to make putting up for the winter a viable option, really, which leaves me feeling a little bereft at this time of year. Childhood memories are rooted very deep in the psyche, so I grieve for the Mason jars of pickles and vegetables that my grandmother and great-aunts would turn out every year. I have a little kernel of sorrow that I am missing the fabulous smells that filled the fall kitchen, and the focused sense of both purpose and safety that permeated the atmosphere.
So I have no Mason jars to put in the cellar with their luscious contents, but that doesn’t mean I can’t put up the abundant nurture of the past seasons and open those memories in the fallow time. [And given how many things I’m dropping at the moment, it is probably good that what I store is not in glass jars.]
I honor Samhain for its starkness and its rest and the darkness that opens into dreams, but as temporal beings, we do not make it through that quarter without food for body and anticipatory respite for spirit. We are creatures who depend on the bounty of the earth for life – sometimes that bounty is tangible and sometimes it is less so. Thus, here is a list of a few of the sustaining things I take with me into the winter, in anticipation of savoring them and drawing on their life-giving energy when the snow is falling, or the skies are gunmetal grey, or the nights are just a little bit too long.
* The smell of the tomato leaves when I am pruning the plant. It is quintessential summer.
* The miracle of opening a seed packet and knowing what will happen when I add sun and water and soil.
* Watching the baby rabbits venture out of their nests for the first time – before they start eating my day lilies and instantly become less cute.
* The taste of fresh peas when they are one of the few things at the Farmer’s Markets. And the first asparagus.
* A glimpse of the wild fox that hunts in our neighborhood.
* The mountains still snow-covered while the foothills begin to turn green in the spring.
* Making the first fruit pie of the season – any season – and sharing it with friends around a candlelit dinner table.
* Finding heirloom tomato plants in the nurseries and buying them way too soon.
* Toasting my mother with something bubbly on midsummer’s eve.
* The heart-shattering wonder of meeting my daughter for the first time on a March midnight over two decades ago.
Maybe you have a list, too.
Please share it if you are willing. Scroll down the page and leave it in the “reply” section to post as a comment.
May this last week of Lughnasadh be a gossamer thin place for you. May the spirits of all your wise soul friends (those in this world and those passed beyond it) be very close.
Text © 2014, Andrea La Sonde Anastos
Photos © 2014, 2011, Immram Chara, LLC
Note: Next Saturday is the start of Samhain — plan to spend some time visiting the website for all the new photos, cards and prints, and art work.