[dropcap letter=”I”]n August, I went on a full-moon fairy walk at Avena Botanicals, a Rockport-based company that creates herbal remedies from the its own organic and biodynamic gardens. Along the way, founder Deb Soule gave a short talk to the grown-ups while the kids, dressed up as fairies, explored candlelit paths and learned about bees and plants. Soule spoke of the reasoning and philosophy behind biodynamic farming and answered questions about how she plants according to the natural cycles of the months and skies and seasons. All too often, she noted, our culture neglects to honor the waning seasons, those times associated with turning inward, returning to our roots, getting old, and dying.
Never is my seasonal awareness so strong as in October, when the sun-kissed, warm afternoons of late summer give way to broody wind gusts and evening chills. If I’m really tuned in, I find the season is reflected as much internally as in the color of the leaves or the falling temperatures. For me, this month brings a yearning for home and hearth, for nourishing meals made from an abundant harvest and shared with friends. October sparks a season of reflection — on another year winding down, on my kids getting older. It’s the season of mortality, when the crisp air seems to deliver a taste of time passing.
This October, I encourage you to follow Soule’s advice and honor the season in your own way. For me, that means letting the frenetic pace of summer fade into a slower, more comfortable routine. It means noticing and appreciating the signs of the season: fall leaves, the harvesting of pumpkins, first frosts, the smell of wood fires. It means acknowledging
the shifting seasons within myself, allowing for both periods of growth
and hibernation, outward action and inward contemplation.
Benjamin Williamson’s photos in Quiet Splendor capture the essence of this season better than my words ever could. If you find yourself craving a moment of stillness, I suggest sitting down with this issue and a hot cup of tea or cider, then escaping into those images. Let the evocative colors and landscapes transport you, if only just for a moment, to the magic that is fall in Maine.
It’s not in the mountains. It’s not on the coast. But something about friendly little Pittsfield evokes the Maine community ethic.
By Virginia M. Wright
Jensen Bissell manages Baxter State Park, 210,000 acres of the loveliest peaks, ponds, and trails east of the Rockies. Lately, he spends a lot of his time trying to keep people out of it. (Or does he?)
By Brian Kevin
Where in Maine?
North by East
Opinions, Advisories, and Musings from the Length and Breadth of Maine