Under the leaves, insects are taking shelter and mushrooms are growing. And decaying, and spending spores, and growing. Salvaging more catmint from the garden before a hard frost. Watching several flower farmers experience a frost, while others do not. Getting a few more weeks of dahlias. Bringing the herbs inside, and hoping that they get enough sun. The urge to make wreaths with all the amazing dried plant material abounding. Peeling pomegranates. The urge to stay underneath the blanket just a little bit longer. Feeling ahead while feeling behind. Crowns of lunaria (not unlike a wreath). Root vegetables as the best comfort food. Thanking the ancestors.
And then, there is Four Quarters.
Traveling to ritual; to several types of ritual. The labyrinth. Measuring the path where we dig to put stones in the ground. Re-measuring. Taking the stones out. Precision. Measuring again. Finally putting the stones in the ground. Eleven in the ground, completing the fifth ring. Three rings to go. This is the work for our descendants.
Coffee dragons. A Croning celebration. Bunking in the dorms. Viewing the changes to the land after six years, and hearing the history of change in people and structure. A hayride to view the new land acquired and feeling just as at home as the first time I set foot in the Farm's office as a freshman in college.
Dumb Supper. Offering tobacco. Approaching the Ancestors cautiously.
Elemancy as ritual. Walking into the circle, second participant, at that. Being sent to the North when your Aries husband is sent to the South. Asking, and being told "Balance." Chuckling a bit (I'm a Libra, don't you know) and knowing that this means to go slowly.
Always wanting more answers.
Drinking mead. Smoking clove cigarettes. Attending the Dead Poet's Society, and enjoying the performances and recitations of the writers, poets, musicians, and bards who have left this world. Already thinking about what to read aloud and share next year.
Watching one of your dearest friends become a Member of the Church. Crying. Feeling really proud of her. Really proud of her.
Participating in closing ritual. Serious grounding. Being challenged in the circle, and taking the challenge to the world outside of the Farm, the family. Being unsure if you have enough love in your heart to carry out the work. Hugging strangers that you've seen all weekend. It makes you feel a little stronger.
Gratitude. Clichés about it taking a village. Learning to sit with clichés that feel right.