Welcome fall. Tuesday was the first day of autumn; a time for transitioning from warm sunny days in New England to cool weather and visions of pumpkins and apples. There is just something about the end of summer and beginning of fall that feels different from the other seasons. There is a mental shift- spring and summer are great awakenings from a winter slumber and the plants and animals are vibrant among us. In the fall, there is a noticeable hush in the outdoor buzz of life. Summer crops are winding down, geese begin to migrate, and bees hurry up to collect the last bits of pollen before hibernating for winter. It is noticeable internally as well; I still feel a bit of childlike anxiety at the thought of back to school – even as an adult. Summer feels so free and yet fall is back to business and winding down for the end of the year and winter. This year has been especially tough mentally, and now more than ever it’s important to arm ourselves with a clear mind and grateful heart going into the fall and winter, when we won’t always have the warm sun and outdoor energy to keep us going.
Many people love fall and rightfully so. The weather is cooler so you don’t sweat going outside. The leaves in New England are a beautiful sight. Apples and pumpkins are pretty delicious and fun to pick. There is also the anticipation of the holidays around the corner. For me, as a gardener, fall is a little bit of a harder pill to swallow. I enjoy the weather and bustle of harvest activity but I am also sad to put the garden to sleep for the winter. I recently watched a fall gardening webinar that said the idea of the garden being over at the end of summer was a marketing scheme and in actuality, plants can be grown mostly year-round with proper frost protection. This gave me hope for the future. By shifting my mental focus from what cannot be to the possibilities of what could be, I will be happier going into another seasonal shift, and may be able to shake the end of summer blues. To combat this, I did plant some fall lettuce and peas. The key to fall planting is to start in August to allow the seeds to sprout in the warmer weather.
Another interesting and poignant part of this year’s first day of fall is that it also marked the last 100 days of the year. How often do we think of the first of something? First 100 days with a newborn, the first 90 days of a new job, the first 100 days in office, first month into a new year. However, I’ve never actually thought about the last 100 days of the year. What does that even mean? Last days to make the year count? Last hoorahs before winter? Well THIS year in particular, it IS important to make the last 100 days of the year count. It has been a tough and exhausting year. I am thankful for the bits of joy that entered this year and now, more than ever, it is important to make way for what is meaningful and what fills up your cup as we close this year out.
What do you hope to accomplish in the last 100 days of 2020? I am focusing on ways to keep myself happy and energized to avoid seasonal depression and fatigue. Here’s some of my goals:
1. Continue to get outside at least once per day while the weather still allows. It might not be
first thing in the morning when it’s 40 degrees out, but even stepping outside for a quick break at lunch or taking time to water the garden will help give a mental boost.
2. Work on fall crops. I am excited about my lettuce and pea prospects. I am also going to try to overwinter my basil and plant lettuce this winter indoors and see what happens.
3. Eat for the season. Using fall crops like kale, greens, potatoes, and squashes help us stay connected to the earth and are a more sustainable option for recipes.
4. Make time for indoor projects. I’d like to work on some fall and winter crafts like making candles for gifts, building shelves for our new closet, and canning applesauce.
5. Get rest. Easier said than done for me but it is so important for mental and physical health.
Above all, live with gratitude. Enjoy the moment and really try to be present. Yesterday I smelled fall in the air. Take time to notice what you notice. Make note of what fills your cup and know that it is ok to say no to things if you need to rest. Take good care and remember to make these last 100 days count.