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Saturday, September 22, 2012

Autumn Equinox 2012

"Fall Equinox/Mabon is a time of thanksgiving, assessment and transition. With the heat of the summer waning, this is the season when our ancestors gathered their resources and prepared for the coming darkness." ~Vanessa Timmons

   Today we exist in a moment of balance; night and day are of equal length. Tomorrow the days begin to shrink and the nights are longer than the days. Thus the wheel of the year turns again, bringing the autumn harvest season to the top.
   This is a moment to stop, take stock of life, look inward, considering the blessings and challenges we've experienced on our life journey. It is time as well to consider what questions, challenges, issues, dreams, talents, loves, and desires we will choose to take with us into Winter's solitude to germinate in the darkness and bloom next spring.
   Last night brought b-r-r-r-r cold temperatures to our floating home. This morning as I sat bundled in my nighty and summer robe I could see my breath over my cup of coffee. Dear Sir started a wood fire in the stove for me, and we drew the curtains throughout the boat to let the warm sun inside. (One of my favorite sounds in this cruising life is laying in a warm, clean, fluffy bed on a sunny morning listening to NB Valerie stretch, creak, and wake up with the sun.)
   While Les walked up to the village of Weston for a Daily Mail weekend paper, I cleaned out the wardrobe. Folding and packing away our summer duds, I shook out our cold weather clothes and filled the cupboards and drawers with layers of warmth. We got under way, moving through a couple of locks, stopping at Great Haywood Marina for two bags of coal to see us through until the end of October. We meandered on down to Haywood Junction where Les suggested I visit the Canalside Farm Shop while he filled up with water, dumped the rubbish and emptied the loo cassettes.
© Canalside Farm Shop, 2012
   Off I went, expecting a small shed like place with a cold locker full of frozen meat cuts, some free range eggs, and a limited bit of fresh veg.
   Wow! What a surprise! I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I took my time, looking at all the delicious fresh cheese, fresh meat cuts, jams, candies, breads, a very good selection of veg; basket in  hand I made my selections: two gammon steaks, a medium pork pie, a small bag of plain sea-salted crisps, a small cello bag of meringues, a pot of double cream and a punt of extremely fresh, just picked Stafford strawberries.
   We finished off the last of the pot of minestrone soup I made for Sally and Joe's visit last night. Les and I will celebrate this holyday (for witches anyway) with a lovely meal of sauteed gammon, egg, chips, and tea. For dessert we will enjoy strawberries in sherry with minted cream on top.
   Back on board with my treasures, we decided to turn right at Great Haywood Junction and moor up at Tixall Wide. A lovely spot was available near the widest part of the canal.
   Tixall Wide is one of my favorite places on earth. Martins dive and swoop across the wide, watery expanse, dragonflies dart amongst the tall grasses at the edge; cattle graze contentedly in nearby fields. Buzzards ride the thermals in the bright blue sky, the autumn sun cutting a shallower path across the clouds in the late afternoon. Fish barely break the surface of the water, bubbles giving them away as rings move outward toward the shallows.
 Oooh ahh missus--dodgy footprints has your Les and I'm watching him!
   On shore ducks lay in the grass sunning themselves. Two swans seem to be nesting--although it is too late in the season for it--just nearby. The male waddled down to inspect his new neighbors. This forty two pound bird hissed warningly at Les as he tried to leave the boat for an armload of firewood! Deciding there was a need to surveil us closer, the cob chose to hang about the towpath at our bow, pulling in wads of grass with his beak through hisses and snorts, occasionally stretching his neck up and peering inside our boat.
   It is hard to believe but the weather forecast for the next few days is barely above freezing in places, rainy with high winds. In other words autumn storms a-comin'.
   I am thankful for this day drenched in sunshine as nature slows, stills, breathes in and exhales, preparing for the wheel to turn again toward winter--a time of reckoning, a time of limits. But for now we celebrate the ripeness of fruit, grain, and berry; the fullness of the harvest and the larder. There will never be more than there is right now--in this moment. 



Praisesong For Her
She is a tree in a circle of stones. 
She is a crossroad at noon.
She is the moon on the ripening grass.

She is a hill on a night without stars.
She is a tear of the sun.
She is the moon on the ripening grass.

She is a hawk in the circling sky.
She is the eye of the hound.
She is a deer by the river of glass.

She is a berry of red mountain ash.
She is the seed of bright grasses.
She is a stone in the river of glass. 

She is a sigh as time passes. 
                                        ~Patricia Monaghan


 
Autumn Song, By Libana

6 comments:

Sue said...

Ah ha!

You are at one end of the Stafforshire and Worcestershire Canal and we are at the other end!

Will we? xx

Anonymous said...

Mmmmm that minestrone was wonderful. Great for a chilly day.

Sally

Nev Wells said...

Another enchanting post, thank you for lifting my day. Carrot cake btw.. ;-)

Nev

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Sue
Going south and I assume you are heading for the Shroppie. We will meet again promise.
Lesxx

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

Hi Nev,
Les emailed you. We are on the T & M and headed your way now. Carrot cake it is! We would love to have you and yours to dinner if you can.
Glad you enjoyed the post.
JaqXX

Les and Jaqueline Biggs said...

Thanks Sally! I hope there is not too much work waiting for you in Van Doren Hall when you return. Please say to everyone for me.
JaqX

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs

NB Valerie & Steam Train by Les Biggs