Fall: Time to Harvest, Time to Prepare

September 23, 2016

Photo courtesy Micah H.

Do you feel it? It’s fall. At least according to the calendar (and in the Northern Hemisphere). Many places, central Florida included, still feel like summer, but fall began yesterday, with the fall equinox at 10:21 a.m.

“Equinox,” which comes from Latin, means “equal night.” The fall equinox is one of the two days a year when day and night are equal—and some say the earth is in balance.

Besides balance, other concepts connected to the fall equinox include wholeness, reflection, and pause. Traditionally, it is a time of harvest, and a time of storing up for the winter.

As you know, fall is my favorite season. A time when I eagerly wait for the first cold front of the year to bring in drier, cooler air. While that is still likely a month or more away, the light looks different already—the way it falls, the shadows it casts. And my horse is growing his winter coat.

Fall is a lull between summer and the rush of the holiday season. It’s the perfect time to reflect on how the year has gone so far, and how we wish it to finish up. The perfect time to evaluate the balance of our lives, and our inner harvests.

It’s also a time of storing away for the future. We consider what we can to do prepare for the winter ahead, both literal and figurative. We tweak our habits and create comforting rituals for when times get tough. While we’re feeling good is the time to prepare for times we don’t feel so good.

Of course, we can’t stay balanced perfectly all the time, or we’ll never make progress towards our big dreams. Sometimes one area of life has to suffer in order for another to leap forward or thrive. For me, this year has been about building my freelance business and renovating our master bathroom. Many areas of interest and activity have taken a back seat while I concentrate on these ongoing projects. Even so, I still seek balance between doing and being, between giving and receiving, between thinking and feeling, and between work and play. Striving for the type of balance that feels right brings wholeness.

So while you’re enjoying the change of season, take some time to reflect on how your life is balanced, what the harvest of 2016 will bring, and what will help you best navigate the coming winter.

What is your favorite thing about fall?


Happy Little Things: Pumpkin Season

September 18, 2015

Photo courtesy Tim Becker

Signs of fall:

Changing leaves (nope).

A nip in the air (haha—nope).

Sweater weather (I think we’ve established this already…no and no and no).

Pumpkin everywhere (yes)!

Here in Florida, fall won’t start for another month at least, and that’s if we’re lucky. We don’t have changing leaves, but we do have pumpkin. Pumpkin bread, pumpkin bagels, and Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes. While I’m waiting for fall, my favorite season, I’ll make pumpkin pie cookie dough energy balls and pumpkin cranberry bread. And yes, I will indulge in a Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte. (Rumor has it Pumpkin Spice Lattes now contain some real pumpkin!)

What are your favorite happy little things of fall?


Dawna Markova

Full Bloom or Harvest?

September 16, 2015

 “Like the rest of the natural world, human beings go through seasons. At one point, we are in the full bloom of summer, harvesting, committed, in abundance. Then, naturally, there is an autumnal time of falling away, disillusionment, stagnation, a shedding of what has been used up. Then must come the fallowness and dormancy of winter, death, rest. Eventually…there is a great melting into muck and mud, which, if one can persevere, opens naturally into an abundant yellow-green time, when everything is possible and horizons open. Consider your own passion for a moment. Is it hiding under the softest fall of snow, or going through a raw shedding? And is your sense of purpose trembling with spring green or flaming in full harvest?”
—Dawna Markova, I Will Not Die an Unlived Life


Mosaic Season

November 19, 2014

“Winter is an etching, spring a watercolor, summer an oil painting and autumn a mosaic of them all.”
—Stanley Horowitz

Everyday adventures

Planting Hope

September 22, 2014

Is there anything more optimistic and hopeful than planting a garden? 

This weekend, my husband and I prepared our largest garden bed for fall planting. We had to dig out the old soil, pull up the tree roots creeping into the bed, put down cardboard to slow their return, and refill the bed with a mixture of the old soil and a good helping of fresh soil from our compost heap. It was hot, drippy work, but we were left with a beautiful, ready-to-be-planted bed.


After and ready for planting
We’re also growing our garden from seeds—another hopeful and optimistic endeavor. Can you imagine sweet sugar snap peas coming from these:

Or carrots from these:

That’s what we’re hoping for, along with a few other Florida cold season crops.

There are many garden-to-life metaphors/parallels/life lessons, such as: in gardening as in life you have to get your hands dirty if you want things to grow, or gardening and life both have “seasons,” and so on. One of my favorite lessons, however, is that beautiful things can come from unprepossessing beginnings. Tiny, dead-looking seeds produce luscious tomatoes, beautiful blooms, crunchy carrots, and aromatic herbs. This makes me feel hopeful that when I feel parched and withered, with the right care and nurturing I can produce something beautiful and delicious, too. Even though each seed contains new life, it will not sprout unless its growing conditions are met. The spark of creativity and life within me must be nurtured as well. All I need to do is look around me for the nurturing I need to grow and bloom. And, sometimes the hardest part, allow myself that nurturing, whether it is a delicious meal, an afternoon nap, a coffee date with a friend, or half an hour spent daydreaming and listening to music.

I’ve been feeling tired, parched, and withered lately. While I have been allowing myself time for dormancy, for just chillin’, I’m ready to leave this stage and move on to the next. My favorite season—fall—is coming and with it, the cooler, drier air that always gives me an energy lift. I want to feel that spark of creative energy wake up inside me, and I want to grow and bloom the way our garden will (I hope). While I’m waiting, I’m going to pay careful attention to my growing conditions.

In what ways can you make conditions right for your own blossoming?


It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year...

August 24, 2010

Back to school that is. Today is the first day of school in our county, and our son dragged himself out of bed at 6 a.m. It just doesn’t seem right to go to the school bus stop when it’s still dark.

First day with the new backpack 
Actually, I have mixed feelings about him going back to school. He’s nice to have around, and this was probably his last summer as a “kid.” Next summer will find him completing community service hours for a state-sponsored scholarship program and/or working at his first job. (Of course, our food bill might be smaller now that he’s back in school. Teenage boys are eating machines!)

Now that he’s back in school, I can look forward to the approach of fall. I frequently set new goals in the fall rather than in January. In Florida, summer is so hot and drags on so long that I’ve lost all ambition and energy by September. If I didn’t have to leave the house, I’d never change out of my pajamas. When we get our first cold front, hopefully sometime in October, I begin to perk up, look around me and decide on new projects and tackle the to-do list that has grown large and unwieldy during the summer. I review any goals I set earlier in the year to see if I’m on track.

It looks beautiful, but it's HOT
So much has changed since last fall: I began writing articles for and for this blog, I found my new friend Laure, my son grew taller than me. And I met all of you who are kind enough to read the blog and comment on it. You’ve enriched my life by sharing your thoughts with me and each other.

Do you have a favorite time of year? What makes it your favorite? My current favorite is fall, because that’s when I start to feel human again, instead of like a giant, sweaty lump. Hopefully your reasons are a little more poetic than mine…