BY STEPHANIE PERKINSON
It is deeply engraved in my bones, the recipe for winter preparation. The wind changes, the light shifts and there it is. Time for readying and gathering. Time to pull it all close from across the table.
I believe alchemy begins from the ground up.
There is a certain meditation in the pulling of weeds and the clearing of beds. Gratitude overcomes me for the hardy leaves resistant to the coming chill and the roots that seem to get sweeter as the days grow shorter. The multicolored leaves are raked up from their resting place to be turned back into the earth while she rests. The front door is coated with yet another layer of paint and the porch is adorned with the bounty of fall, pumpkins, corn stalks and the like. We do this work together. I like it best that way.
Next are the ancient wooden floors. I sweep away the fragments of yesterday. A bucket is filled with a warm, herbal scented brine. Rosemary for our protection. Salt for our purification. Each scar and scuff is scrubbed with intention, extinguishing the incandescence of summer. I rise from my knees and find myself somewhat reluctantly embracing this new season standing at our doorstep. Yet, the work has already begun. This circle has no beginning or end. I like it best that way.
It's time to attend to the shelves. Mason jars are filled with the bounty of summer. Joy wrapped in glass for the coming months ahead. Tender herbs are bundled and hung from simple twine. The tools are assessed, boards and spoons nourished with wax and oil. My hands find their way from the garden to the kitchen. Roots and the last of the leaves are gathered and pungent spices are ground. I give thanks for the animal whose body sustains us. A heavily scented stew makes it's way to a simmer over the flame, inviting spirit and deep nourishment to our table. I like it best that way.
I feel myself softening. Shoulders drop and jaw relaxes. Grief is released.
Materials are needed for my temple. For the one made of wood: I am drawn to layers of wool, the creak of leather and the thickness of fur. Their energy stokes the fire as curtains are drawn to retain their precious heat. A deeper palette cocoons my soul. For the one made of flesh: Balms are made with earthly energy. Oils, waxes and butters are warmed and infused with healing ingredients from the land around us. Room is made for skin soothing scrubs and salts in our home apothecary. I bathe in dusky twilight and I hunger for adornment heavy in nature, tethering me to the earth in the most sacred of ways. Ambrosial smoke circles my body, clearing the path. I like it best that way.
Gatherings are planned with the best of friends. Invitations sent by word of mouth instead of pen. The light from our home spills out the front door as we greet each other with passion and eagerness. The table quickly fills with a dish from each home and no one cares if the napkins match. We gather around the fire together, laughing and dancing as the music leads the way. Thanks are given and toasts are made and no belly goes unfilled. The moon rises and with it comes whispered stories scented in cinnamon and sage. The flicker of candlelight reflected in brass, dances on the ceiling lulling my babies to sleep. I like it best that way.
It's a season like this that reminds me of all that we have. What we can create with our own two hands and what we cannot without the help of others. It is the past, the present and the future whisked together that makes the most delicious dish. These humble luxuries will have my tender affection always. I like it best that way.
(Note: this article is a repost and was originally published last year.)
Stephanie Perkinson is a certified holistic health & lifestyle coach and owner of Wellness by Design. She teaches women how to live “in-season” by introducing them to the magic that each earth-phase holds. She gently guides her clients back to balance on their plates, in their bodies and around their homes. She believes that with loving support, every body can find it's way home and become deeply rooted wherever it may be.