My favourite time of year is here. The leaves are starting to turn, the air is starting to cool, the stars seem brighter and sharper at night, and the garden is beginning to wind down. I've picked the last squash and am hoping the Collective Farm Woman melon ripens before frost. (Yes, melon. Just one this year. Previous years I've gotten a dozen or more, but I think the heat really sucked away their will to live this summer.) The beans are hovering on the edge of dry, the pea vines have been cut down, and every day I check for fallen ground cherries in their paper wrappers beneath the vines, as if I were feeling for eggs beneath a hen. I feel like apologizing to the lush plants for peeking.
The farmers' market only has a few weeks left. I went on Saturday and just wandered the aisles, admiring the piles of golden beets, the abundance of butternut squash, the buckets of herbs and rows of containers of wild blueberries. I commented to the girl behind the table that someone must be insane by now, picking all those tiny blueberries. She replied solemnly, "I think there's a hotline for blueberry depression."
I bought bags of stuff just because it looked so good -- cauliflower the size of a basketball, dark green zucchini, mouth-watering red peppers, plump crimini mushrooms, and a half-dozen pumpkin-chocolate chip muffins (from the Mennonite table. Best baking in the world.). The teenage boy I bought my gigantic unruly lettuce from had a hard time getting it into its plastic bag. My remark "It's like trying to get a girl in a frilly dress into a sleeping bag," got a smile.
The cooler temperatures bring out the energy that's been flagging all summer. Suddenly I feel like doing things -- climbing mountains, wandering along rivers, writing poetry. I took the dogs out for their walk last night and you'd have thought they hadn't been out in months. They towed me along as if we were in the Iditarod, Brio's ears streaming back and a wild grin on his face. Yeesssss! I took my sewing out to the picnic table in the backyard to enjoy the cool evening. All I could hear was lawnmowers and my neighbour on the phone, but I pretended the droning was the splash of the waterfall at last week's Zen retreat and it was very peaceful.
I am determined to avoid my usual winter blahs this year. I'll throw myself into learning to weave, practise my yoga, try to be more consistent with meditating. I'll find some new and exciting writing project to focus on. I'll spend time with my grandchildren. I'll eat the bottles of fruit I've carefully prepared all summer. And sometime around late January, I'll pull out the seed catalogues with their glossy, enticing photos.
Life is good.