Yesterday I realized fall had begun. I know it’s early August and that doesn’t jive with our calendar with it’s harsh dates, that to me now seem arbitrary. One of the things my guides have gently nudged me along on is that in order to be connected to the Earth we have to move with her rhythms. And being an herbalist puts one in that vein even more so. The plants wait for no one, I always say.
Now, why or how did I realize the seasons had begun to change? I was doing a bit of a cool off ride with Dixie after our lesson like I do every week. As we walked through the conservation land across from the barn I noticed a distinct change in the quality of the light. While was sunny, the sunlight had that autumnal feel to it: a bit lower in the sky, the sky itself is a darker blue. The grasses in the field were dried and brown. The St. John’s wort was done blooming. The Joe Pye weed flowers were looking ratty. If you see insects at this time of year notice how many have tattered wings or are missing legs, especially grasshoppers. Summer insects begin to look worn. Late summer/early autumn insects are singing now as well: crickets, katydids. Goldenrod is blooming now and the autumn olives are full of small berries.
Over the years I’ve had people hit me up on various social media and through email about being connected. This is how we do it. We start with noticing and letting go not by running out and wildcrafting plants we don't have a relationship with or don't really know. Noticing what’s really going on around us and letting go of the notions that we already know is how we start to deconstruct the things that keep us from being connected. So just because the calendar says it’s summer (or winter, or fall), does not mean that it’s still really summer (or winter or fall, etc.) for your local environment and habits. Relative frequency of visiting one place helps, too. Getting to know the rhythms of that place, how it looks through different seasons, what plants grow there and what animals live there. Everything has seasonality and a rhythm and cycles. You won’t see the same plants in the same place every year. Frequency and pattern of animals change, too. This is how we get connected to the cycles of the year.