Let the beauty we love,
be what we do.
There are hundreds of ways to kneel and kiss the ground."
The Farmwife Diaries
Full of Fall
On this equinox of 2012, I feel the earth turning and look up. The ridge is suddenly autumn-colored, a mosaic of heat-sapped greens and golds. On a few trees, the leaf tips are reddening, the gothic fingertips of boughs. The shadows are shorter, as are the days. Now rain, leaves and the light will all drop to the ground. And the last of the blueberry buckets will be hauled up the hill as the first of the apple bins are filled.
Equinox means half-day, half-night…’equi’ from ‘equal’ and ‘nox’ from ‘night.’ After the marathon of summer— those long, warm days with long worn lists to do— I wonder if our days will even out. If we will rest as much as we work. 12 hours of consciousness, concern and community; 12 hours of solitude, somnolence and surrender. Sleep is the only time that working land is not insistent, unless the fields are the landscape of our dreams, or unless a windstorm or a coyote cry stirs our protective instincts and we wake.
After this summer of light and action, I like the thought of a thick coat of fur and a dark cave, a belly full of blackberries and salmon to sustain me through the winter. But then, I would miss fresh-pressed apple juice and the flickering glow of the fireplace and puddles.
Each season has its own work and, now that we are cidermakers too, Fall is full. Apples are stacked in weathered bins and are, indeed, very tempting. Not a person walks by those bins who does not reach out to grab an apple, yearning for knowledge of that crisp, sweet, fruity flesh.
I watch the farmers and the cidery crew cycle through their chores from my own corner of the land. While I work in the tasting room greeting guests or in the office coordinating and communicating, the crew is on the move. Farmers feed pigs, water ducks, wash eggs, pick apples, pluck tomatoes, harvest berries, pack for market. Cidery crew washes tanks, bottles cider, fills kegs, packs boxes, presses apples, pumps juice. I hope dearly that for everyone who works here, there is joy in the job, meaningful purpose in the push to get it all done. The equinox can remind us of the virtues of balance: light and dark, work and rest.
To me, our farm community feels like a hive— each member tuning into the needs of the whole, venturing out into the fields, returning laden with sustenance, sharing the bounty with the collective. The sweetness is this working together on beautiful land. The honey is this whole life. The harvest season inspires to dip into the jar and share a heaping taste...and to dip into the jug and swig a sweet sip!
My gratitude for this harvest and wish that all are well-fed, full-hearted and enjoying a new season.