It signals the end of harvest and the beginning of preparing for a long winter. In one sense, we are always preparing for the coming winter, even by our planting, and weeding, and gathering and canning and dehydrating and freezing... always looking forward to the time when the garden is past and the days are cold, and we rely on the fruit of our labor.
We are always marching toward winter.
Or maybe, we are always marching towards spring.
It seems that living on a farm means living in one season while looking towards the next. Come February, in the darkest coldest days, I will be pouring over seed catalogues, drawing up planting charts, and dreaming of warm days and bounty.
We are simply stepping into the great circle of the seasons, a lost art in some ways in this current society. There is a grounding, a peacefulness and purpose that attends this drawing one's own sustenance from the earth. We are joined with the roots that reach into the depths of the soils, with the leaves that reach upward to the sun, with the flowers that display the strands of life, with the fruit that swells on arching stems. We burst into action as the soil warms in spring, dance in the summer sun, sing the songs of harvest, and rest as a blanket of snow covers the earth. We are part of the plan.
For as long as the earth shall endure, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night, shall not cease.