Monday, September 22, 2008

Happy Festivus! (or is that Christmas time?)

Happy Autumnal Equinox to your and yours!

Ahhhhh, today is a day I celebrate. Nope, I'm not a pagan (not that there's anything wrong with that), but I do so love the first official day of autumn. I will drag out the autumn decorations, change the flag to the scarecrow one and basically just get the house looking festive inside and out. This is the first year I am not sending out Happy Fall cards with some cute leaf pile picture of the boys. I know, you all think I'm crazy, but it's a deeper connection to this season then I can even explain or understand myself. It gets me in the mood to bake, but also to can, harvest, gather, hunker down at night with a good book next to the fire and snuggle in with a steaming cup of tea and watch the leaves fall. I talked about this before, how I'm not sure if it's instinct or something I have just learned to love, but autumn feels like a time of possibility to me. Most people feel that in the spring, but my blood loves the cooler temperatures. So many of my favorite things are especially enjoyable this time of the year that I feel bound to it.

I have a dear old friend (meaning length of friendship, not her age) that hates autumn, it reminds her that the long cold winter is on it's way. Now in all fairness, she lives a bit of a different lifestyle then most of us. She lives at the top of a mountain (okay, it's a very big hill, but almost a mountain) with a driveway that is impassable to all but the heartiest of vehicles (and my minivan is not exactly equipped with 4 wheel drive), she has no electricity in her home (solar panels), a composting toilet (which was only added about 4 years ago now I think, until they then had an outhouse) and only a woodstove and fireplace for heat. She and her wonderful husband live a life that's unaccustomed to most of us, and in the winter it gets a whole lot harder since she's got horses to care for with no running water in the barn and no heat. So, cleaning stalls is a whole lot more work, and keeping buckets unfrozen and schlepping water out to her animals is a very bitterly cold endeavor. Her beloved trails are filled with snowmachiners that have no clue what a loud, crazy snowmachine will do to the brain of your average Arabian horse. She's been dumped more times then any of us can count by her "psycho mare" (her monikor, not mine).

So, though I understand her reticence for the finer colors and cooler temperatures, there's also a big part of me that is just plain jealous. Out of her windows she sees beauty and nature all around her. Her husband built a good portion of the house himself and put huge picture windows in the front to capitalize on the passive solar design and it's a view most of us can only dream about. She also has animal visitors (the bear that gets into the barn is not so welcome, but otherwise...) and she gets the chance to watch turkeys, deer and many other species visit her homestead. Ahhhh, to live in wilderness again. They also get to maintain such a smaller footprint on the planet, it's wonderful. They have raised recycling to a high art. I consider myself an avid recycler, have been for years, but I think they might have about one bag of trash a year and the rest is recycled. The environmentalist in me is a little green eyed and wished there was a way for us to live with a smaller footprint ourselves. It's a little harder to do with 2 children and the mountain of stuff that they invariably come with them. We often wonder how all these toys have taken over our lives. is my best friend right now as I do my best to clean closets and stashes out to make room for winter things.

Even though, all these years I've loved autumn, I can't convince her of it's intrinsic beauty. She sees leaves changing and she gets depressed. I see the same and feel a thrill and warmth and my brain somehow comes to life in a way it does not the rest of the year. I tried to convince her years ago that if you embrace the fun parts of winter (like cross country skiing, snowshoeing, sliding) that it's more fun and makes for a much less painful 4-5 months of the year. She has done well with the winter sports embracing, and does lots of that now. But I find it so interesting that two people can experience one season so differently. Makes me shake my head for sure!

Well, we took the boys to Storyland this past weekend and my next post will be all about that little moment of perfectness. A fun time was had by all. Until then, cook something in your crockpot, dig out your slippers and pour that cup of's Autumn Equinox today!

Sending you the peace of fluttering leaves, ~Peacemom

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