Falling into winter

The magicians, 6 of 8. Gifted the Apothecary's Garden, the Teaching Gardens with something the Gardens couldn't give themselves, and will be clear what that is, next spring.

 

Gorgeous Hamilton Escarpment, Fall Mushroom Hunt
Gorgeous Hamilton Escarpment, Fall Mushroom Hunt

     Once more, we fall into Winter.

 

I started this post a few weeks ago while the parade of breathtaking fall colours enchanted us here in Hamilton. It went on, and on, s l o w l y unfolding day after day after day, week after week, and then just kept on going! I think I became entranced with it. Hypnotized. Completely forgot this post. Ahhhh, Nature Porn, mmmm, baby. I spent way too much time not writing about it because I couldn’t find the words. Gave up trying, but did take some photos. Now though, no longer drifting in a tizzy of autumn oo’s and ahh’s, the stark reality of cold bitter grey has hit like a slap in the face,  the naked trees just look vulnerable and exposed to the cold.

Peeking in through the fence at dusk
Peeking in through the fence at dusk

       It is here now, shortened days, deeper thoughts, introspections, retrospections and a premium on cheerful bright musings. Nothing we can do about it. The cold has seeped into the ground and feels like it’s already in my bones, it doesn’t look like it will be warming up again, any time soon.

Stripped of colour, the jig is up. Fall has let out its last breath to inhale bitter sweet winter.
Stripped of colour, the jig is up. Fall has let out its last breath to inhale bitter sweet winter.

We finally put the Apothecary’s Garden to bed.  A surprising turnout 5 adults. 2 young boys and myself. Nothing fancy, not ornate,  but, it was a stitch, anchoring our intent in the physical world. Every tiny start, when compared to nothing , is always  huge. The participants may not know it, but what they did was huge, transformative and will be evident when the garden wakes next spring, and carries through the year with new purpose in its stride.

The magicians, 6 of 8. Gifted the Apothecary's Garden, the Teaching Gardens with something the Gardens couldn't give themselves, and will be clear what that is, next spring.
The magicians, 6 of 8. Gifted the Apothecary’s Garden, the Teaching Gardens with something the Gardens couldn’t give themselves,

  3 times round the circle, heart of the garden beds, boys taking turns leading the procession, swinging the big copper cauldron, billowing fragrant smoke.

Hot tea with Wild Ginger
Hot tea with Wild Ginger

We spoke of the Elderberry bushes, naked now, remembered how sweet and abundant the berries were this year, the Hops and Clary. Mints and Rue. We spoke of how we could let it go now, leave it, tied with a bow, and delivered into the life stream.  The hot tea with wild Ginger hit the spot, kept our hands warm while we meandered over to the Labyrinth to say goodnight and share some smudging smoke with it.

Billowing fragrant smoke, a smudge mix from our community apothecary's garden
Billowing fragrant smoke, a smudge mix from our community’s  apothecary’s garden

   Almost whispered farewells, as everyone drifted away to warm homes and Sunday chores. It all seemed a little anticlimactic, but endings are like that.. death is ehhh. Bury the dead and carry on. Such is life. Needs to happen, but happy to see it in the rear view mirror. It is obviously a no brainer that Spring will be a rush, everyone bursting with anticipation and motivation  literally and figuratively racing to embrace new beginnings and the warming sun. This is why it was so impressive and meaningful that so many showed up for the closing ceremony.

Not quite winter, our Labyrinth is ready to sleep and regenerate.
Our Labyrinth is ready to sleep and regenerate.

 Do the plants wistfully long for the sun on their leaves,  fragrant flowers,  loved by bees?  What do the plant sprites and caretaking energies do while the plants sleep?

For any of us that suffer from the shortened days, and the winter grey, closing the gardens is a symbol, acknowledging the things we can’t control. A way to open our arms and welcome it, well, at least try to accept it. Whether we see each other or not, we are all walking through the dark together. . If winters are darkness, then circles tells us we are not alone.

 

Fall is like a last meal, We are blessed with such superb beauty in Southern Ontario,  breathtaking, fragrant, nourishing to the soul.  However, seems the price we pay, for our temperate fall paradise, is the long, dark, winter, ahead. Couldn't we have these stunning gorgeous Autumns without the price of a dark gloomy winter? Apparantly not.  UGHH,
Fall Colours and Concrete-Hamilton Mushroom Hunt

 

Fall colours, Hamilton Ontario 2013
Fall colours, Hamilton Ontario 2013

 

 

Fall Vista-Hamilton Mushroom Hunt 2013
Fall Vista-Hamilton Mushroom Hunt 20

 

Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Ontario. Fall 2013
Cootes Paradise, Hamilton Ontario. Fall 2013

Let’s remember to try to embrace it all, the spring and the fall, summer and winter, while they flow past us and through us. To accept the dark and the light, depression and inspiration, sadness and joy. Like pain and pleasure, they are not who we are, but experiences, colours and textures, things that pass through us, flow around us, impact our senses and systems. We are the perceivers and the experiencers, separate, we are the ones looking at the things. Not the things themselves. (Something I learned through my career as an impaler.) More about that in the future…..

Till then, bundle up and do something nice for someone.

Dan

3 Comments

  1. This is beautiful Dan, thank you for sharing. We closed the Willows gardens last weekend too, burning some of the incense you made with the children in Oceans of Potions as an offering to the gardens, and planting some crocuses too – I love planting bulbs this time of year, knowing that while it snows and looks so bleak out here, those little guys are safely tucked down below, making good on the promise of spring. Wishing you warmth and togetherness through this dark season. Xo Anna

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