Fall begins tomorrow — the equinox is officially at 6:30 tomorrow morning here on the west coast. That will be the moment when the earth is halfway between its winter and summer zeniths and when the day is equally balanced between day and night. Then we slide into shorter days and longer nights.
There is so much satisfaction in fall for us farmers, especially assuming we’ve had a productive growing season. I love the feeling of “having done” something, and I especially love the feeling of harvesting storage crops and seeing them tucked away. That step is ahead of us now — the winter squash are in the field; the onions are dried on the porch; the cabbages are heading.
It seems that fall is many people’s favorite season, and I wonder if it’s those ancient farmers in all of us. Even if we don’t all gather crops for the winter anymore, we still feel it in our bones, this sense that we’ll “be okay” for another hard cold season.
I’ve heard many people express, however, that they’re not fully “feeling” that autumnal satisfaction this year. That instead of feeling excited about the crisp days and the falling leaves, they’re feeling more trepidation. I can think of a million reasons why this might be so — an especially heated election coming in November; the absence of so many holiday season traditions (which are defined by being physically together); the lingering anxiety and recovery from the recent wildfires … It’s been quite a year!
I too am trying to wrap my head around what this season will feel like … part of me says to just not anticipate anything. Let each day just be what it is. But that’s hard for me, as I’m sure it is for others too.
Again and again this year I find myself coming back to the basics. The human parts of fall may be completely wonky this year (no pumpkin patch! no trick-or-treating! no Thanksgiving with extended family!), but the season will still likely bring all the usual glories — the golden falling leaves; the geese migrations; the morning mists. I will be honest and say right now: it’s not enough. I’m a human, and we’re social animals, and that’s real. But it is something. It is something I can reach out and hold on to right now.
And the smaller things will still be here too. We can still carve pumpkins on our porch. We can still make hot chocolate on cold mornings. We can still curl up with books and watch the rain. If anything, we may have more time for these simple pleasures, especially if we prioritize not filling our empty schedules with online distractions or media black holes.
As always, a new season inspires me to be ever vigilant about creating such space in our life — space that feels like pauses, like quiet. Even though we can’t be with people in so many ways, the world feels very, very loud right now. There is a lot of justified outrage spilling out and demanding our attention. Paying attention is important, but so is making the space to live. That will be my goal this fall — to make those spaces when we can savor the gifts we do have in these strange times.
Happy fall everyone! Enjoy this week’s vegeteables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Meet this week’s vegetables: