Friday, October 31, 2008

Fall ponderings

In the fall, I experience an arrhythmia of great proportion...my heart changes it's rhythm...my chest thumps with the misfiring of a few beats of pre-ventricular tachycardia that lasts for a millisecond. Before I have time to cough, hold my breath, or bear down there's a sinus pause followed by some bradycardia before my electrical system finds it's equilibrium...The relief that follows ushers in a slower pace...a slower sinus rhythm replaces the tachycardia caused by crazy schedules, being late to all the activities I promised that I wouldn't let crowd my life, stress from overcommitment and the pressure to do it all, too much caffeine and too little protein...and wondering what my hematological profile will reveal (enough iron and hemoglobin?) or if my blood pressure could be up.

What comes is nirvana...ahh, AUTUMN. A different state of mind. A time when to slow down, pause with a cup of coffee and realize the air is a little crisper and the sky a little clearer. A time to reboot and enjoy the spoils of the hard work of the harvest.

Amazingly this moment comes annually, but always catches me by surprise. I'll be driving along on the way to somewhere behind schedule (as usual). Children squealing in the back, one hand on a pen and a to-do list in the passenger seat capturing a thought and the other on the wheel. And, suddenly between whirling thoughts of where I have to be next and the endless list in my head I am awestruck by the fact the leaves are actually transforming!

I feel myself begin to transform as well. My memories are sharper and my senses in tune with the season...

Scenes of the past attack me...scents of golden hay bales stored for winter in the old house, tobacco stalks speared and hanging on sticks to cure in the barn, potatoes being dug and the muskiness of the turned over autumn soil that is spent from nurturing them, the rough feel of those potatoes in hand as we complete our task of picking them up and delight in their shapes. Shiny glass jars with golden lids lined on shelves. Filled to the brim with home grown, home canned green beans, peaches, chow-chow, tomatoes, too many varieties of pickles to count, and the grand finale: homemade vegetable soup. Cinnamon Apple butter with red hot candy simmering in a copper kettle over a wood fire, thin cane sugar syrup magically turning to dark thick molasses after hours of being stirred in long seven foot vat, coal fires lit in pot belly stoves as the evening air gets heavy with frost. The moon hanging slightly lower in the sky...larger than life.

Ahhh, autumn. For me, this time of putting away of things, the feeling of failure...failure to feel...and the getting of furrows ready for the next seasons planting, is all about preparing my heart for the coming spring growth.

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