Friday Gather

Curated thoughts and writings from the week that’s passed.

Monday 28th October

Is it 7am or 6am? It always takes me a few days to catch up to the hour change. I can never remember which came first – is summertime normal and daylight saving an adjustment? Either way, this morning, I woke up hungry but on route to the kitchen I spied out the window that I wasn’t the only one in need of a good breakfast. We had our first visit from Jack Frost last night, and the bird feeders were empty. I pulled a jumper over my pyjamas and nipped out to fill them up. Whilst there I couldn’t help take a few photos of the marvellous patterns and shapes the frost makes – it highlights the mundane and brings it sparkling brilliance. Soon as the sun rises it will melt away, an ephemeral work of art. 
– – –
As I was taking pictures in the garden this morning, my attention was pulled upwards by the appearance of two ravens, engaged in mid air jostling and discussion, tumbling and calling as they flew strongly south over the garden and rooftop. Dark, heavy set birds but agile, thick billed heads and a wedge shaped tail, and a deep intelligent and unearthly cronking voice. A moment later and I’d have missed them. Right place right time. A little seasonal magic and mystic – late blooms, frosted apples, and two legendary black birds. 

Tuesday 29th October

It’s officially too dark after work now to do anything at the allotment on the way home. But the first frosts this week will have put the brakes on hard for the dahlias. I’m hoping to get there for half an hour (between the electric engineer and the wood stove fitters) on Friday afternoon, to cut them back, and start piling on some mulch. I love the process of putting parts of the plot to bed for the winter. The rhythm of the year, and the satisfaction of a little bit of tidy order amidst the natural chaos is rather gratifying! 
I know it’s only Tuesday, but are you thinking about the weekend already too? What is on your to-do-list? 

Thursday 31st – Hallows Eve

What phase is the moon at? I’ve not seen it’s face for weeks. I’ll check my almanac later, and find out where we are in the cycle. I’m not sure why it’s so important for me to know, but it just seems relevant today. We have finally reached All Hallows’ Eve or Halloween. Samhain, Witches’ New Year. Whatever you call it, we are approaching yet another turning point in the years cycle. The year long seasonal shift reflects the monthly pattern of the moon: light, fading, dark, growing. Right now we are at the fading point, on the cusp of the dark resting time. The first frost has visited, and the garden and countryside around our home is letting go of what no longer serves it, gathering in that which will sustain. They say that at this time the veil between the tangible and the spiritual world is thin, those who have passed may visit again and mischief makers abound. Some folk carve grotesques to frighten away their personal demons, don costumes to disguise them from passing ill fortune. But this is also a time of reflection and honour – to remember our ancestors whose struggles we glimpse in our own. Harvest season is complete, and we can pause, celebrate, commemorate, thank. 
Tonight I will leave the curtains open to the night, lay an extra place at the table, light candles in the dark. Loved ones know they are welcome, they’re always here in our stories anyway. A prickle on the back of the neck, a tremor of cool draft, a murmur of a fear of the dark is natural, connecting us all through deep time. So time travel tonight, or feel your way outwards, through earth and starlit air, sense the interconnectedness of the voles shriek, and owls quaver, the autumn leaves and the swelling seed, the impression left by passed generations, and you. Breathe.

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