This week is the final week of summer. On Saturday, the earth will experience its autumnal equinox in the northern hemisphere, a point in its orbit where the days and nights are approximately equal for everyone on the planet. This occurs as the our orbital inclination places the sun directly above the equator. For the inhabitants of the northern hemisphere, it is the end of summer, and for those in the southern hemisphere, the long winter will finally be over.
Autumn is a time of preparation. It is time to reap what we have sown. Seeds planted in fertile soil will have taken root and matured to their fullest potential. Our work, patience, and caring will result in food that will sustain us through the long winter months. Seeds that we ignored or could not get tend to, will likely have failed. Autumn is a time to assess our investments of time and attention and evaluate our efforts. It is also a time of preparation.
Our seasons, while cyclical, take their toll on us. We makes plans, and we work towards their ends. Sometimes our efforts lead to the intended end, while more often, the results of our efforts are so different than what we thought they would be that we discover that purpose of the entire endeavor was to learn from the experience. In all cases, the toll on our bodies and souls is immense. We are given our season and just enough energy to get through it.
And so we lay it all out there, sowing our seeds with our dreams, sometimes forgetting that we are limited by the confines of one season. Yet, winter is unavoidable. Eventually, as the days continue to grow shorter, we face the season’s end. We find ourselves assessing and evaluating our decisions. We discover that some efforts produced no results, while others multiplied beyond our wildest imaginations. In the autumn, we spend more time appreciating the summer that is now behind us. We can see the summer in a new perspective. We realize that just walking and working in the sun is a beautiful gift, and that the point of it is not always to move in the direction of some arrow. Once we are fully conscious of the upcoming winter, we realize that there is nothing we could do to change the direction of the seasonal flow, unlike in the spring when we thought we could control all outcomes. We are after all, floating on a great and powerful river of time.
So it is with hope and introspection that I greet this late summer morning. It is true that my energy reserves are nearing their seasonal low. I am, after all, counting down the number of Saturdays that we get up at 3a for the season. The toll we feel is the price we pay for giving our all. I cannot imagine feeling any other way this time of year. I also think of how I could have done some things differently, but the wisdom re-acquired this season tells me that the best that anyone can do is their best. Everyone on our farm gave their best.
Today, I embrace autumn and in the inevitable. I will not grieve for the past season, but instead I will embrace the season that lies ahead. When winter arrives and I can no longer tend the fields, I will look back at the season with fondness, and share anything that I have learned with anyone who asks. I will hold my head high in the morning light with the knowledge that even as one season slips away into the long night, another one full of opportunity and hope will emerge when its time is right. For today, I will greet the morning that waits, seizing all that the day has to offer, and I will do my best to act as if I deserve such a gift as that which awaits me on this late summer morning.