This holiday – along with Halloween/Samhain – has long been one of my favorites; now it is always bittersweet, remembering my mother, who passed away over a year ago. Pagans of many cultures and eras have embraced the season’s winding down, its association with death, its symbolism of the destruction of the old making way for the creation of the new.
Here at home we’ve been madly gathering the waning bounty of our garden, making gazpacho from the sweetest tomatoes and cucumbers, and trying our hand at canning and preserving. Our yard is covered with leaves, the earth redolent of humus, just waiting to nourish next year’s growth.
Watching the light fail at the end of the shortening days, our plants wilting and returning to the earth from where they came, I’m struck by how we try to stave off the effects of time and mortality. We can’t do it, but we still try – a very human, and life-affirming effort.