Already laid bare

I mourned the passing of summer, while it was happening.

I missed gardens and farm vegetables. I missed berry picking. I missed relaxing at the beach. I missed relaxing, period.

Summer is my recharge season. It is the time of year I feel most vibrant, healthy and alive. Each season has its own way of enlivening me. The crystalline brillance of winter, autumn's sharp tang, and the greening of spring all energize me. But summer, with her long light-filled days, is a sustained season of vibrancy.

I had anticipated having a heightened sense of wellbeing while hiking because I'd be outdoors so much, a place that usually invigorates and inspires me. But as I hiked my way through the summer, steeped in more fresh air and heart-pumping exercise than I'd ever known before, I experienced a disconnection with those activities that speak "summer" to me.

It wasn't that we didn't experience summer stuff, we did. But there was very little relaxing into those moments, they were fleeting and often rushed and whenever possible, Damien and I would bear the burden of "the rush", doing the work so our kids could enjoy their non-hiking (and hiking) time as much as possible. On our resupply days they swam while I did laundry - that sort of thing.

Because I felt I "missed" summer I was reluctant to welcome early fall. The change of leaves in Maine was beautiful and fitting for where we were in our journey but coming home I ached knowing I could not partake in fall's bounty during a difficult period of re-entry and transition. Re-settling and re-starting life took all the energy I had.

I watched the pears fall off the tree in the backyard, to be eaten by the deer. The apples in the abandoned orchard next to our house remained where they were, un-sauced, un-dried, un-harvested by me. The waste seemed scandalous.

Mid-autumn finally feels like a season I can settle into and find my bearings. The gardens are laid to rest. No one is swimming at the beach. There is not much left to pick from field or tree.

I am ready for bare branches and I do not mourn the falling leaves. I am already laid bare.

After a season of steadily moving moving north, and before that a hyperdrive season of getting ourselves south, this fall and winter I am staying put and slowing down.

I am ready for a time of simple beauty, of finding refuge in coziness and warmth, finding refuge period. Just like the raised beds and perennials I am preparing for winter, I don't need to grow right now (I don't want to) and I feel a quiet autumn and still winter provide the perfect season to gain strength, not in pushing forward, but in reflection and rest.

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  • Misti

    Misti on Oct. 19, 2014, 7:51 p.m.

    Gorgeous fall photos! We have our own version of mid-fall here and our late fall might have a slight tinge of your mid-fall here in another month...might

    I too ached for summer this year. I spent most of my third trimester during the hottest portion of the summer and missed all of the tinkering in the garden and exploration that I normally do. I felt disconnected...still do to some extent. 

    Time slips on by.


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 19, 2014, 8:36 p.m.

      Being on the trail, I totally missed that you had a baby. Congratulations!!


      • Misti

        Misti on Oct. 19, 2014, 9:53 p.m.

        That's ok! I missed all sorts of things when I was hiking. I 'marked all read' in my blog reader when I had too many to catch up on so I'd always find out months later that I'd missed something. It's easy to get into a hiker tunnel in regards to the rest of the world. 


  • Penny

    Penny on Oct. 19, 2014, 9:25 p.m.

    Such a beautulf post, filled with lovely photos and hopeful words.  I wish you well, and am so grateful for your sharing.

    (please delete this if it's a double, I'm not sure my comment is making it through the hoops - thanks :))



  • kyndale

    kyndale on Oct. 19, 2014, 9:49 p.m.

    I feel most years like I'm not ready for fall to come.  Just getting the kids into activities and thinking about school.  This summer was not as relaxing for me and I've literally been in the same situation.  The garden this fall is just slinking away. I just have too much to do with school.  I'm teaching 4 homeschool co-op classes, my kids are getting older and require more, and maybe it was all the extra activities this summer that have left me unenergized.  I'm also VERY slow to change.  I actually hate change.  But, I'm slowly embracing the season change and hope that I can sneak in a few moments for myself this fall.  I hope you can too!


  • Alaina

    Alaina on Oct. 20, 2014, 6:14 p.m.

    I am aching for summer too, but for other reasons.  I feel like we also didn't get a summer in many ways.  One reason was because of illness and travelling (travelling that wasn't my desire but had to be done) and also because of relentless rain.  This summer and fall we've seen the most rain I think I've ever seen.  It sort of suits my mood with life right now but I'm hoping this winter isn't so long and bitterly cold this year.  Its hard to think positively right now about the coming winter.  


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 20, 2014, 6:48 p.m.

      I'm so sorry to hear that Alaina. It is hard when you miss out on the best of summer and have a long winter facing you, which I understand. 


  • Rana

    Rana on Oct. 21, 2014, 6:31 p.m.

    I was kind of in the same boat with Misti up above.  I was in my third trimester in july and then the baby came 2 weeks early.  I had all of these wonderful summer plans.  Now that Autumn is in full swing here I'm ready to get cozy for the seasons to come.I know Winter is a hard season for you, I  suffer from S.A.D.alao. Turn on your lite and I will think of you when I have mine on in the early mornings.;) I wish you and your family well Renee.


    • renee

      renee on Oct. 21, 2014, 7:01 p.m.

      Oh Rana, I missed the birth of your baby also. I knew you were expecting but the hike consumed all of me and I just forgot all those wonderful details, like who in my online community was having babies. Congratulations! Where should I go for pics?


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