Fall has begun dressing herself for the season. The golden plumes lay heavy on high heels and long green legs. The Russian olives dangle like earrings. The leaves are showing off their streaks of green/gold, green/yellow.... green/red, as if the wind came by overnight with a hairdressers bag and made-over the trees that lined up for her along the road. The sun is comforting and warm by day, and the moonlight cool at night, conducting the orchestra of insects and the dance of the winds and tides.
The harvests are here, peaking with all her splendor; tomatoes, lemon balm, basil, parsley, and so many more, satisfying our hunger for abundance and beauty. Yet once it is all picked - it starts to wane. The last of the good weather, the last of the longer days, the last of the garden fresh vegetables. The herbs dry and get packed away into jars or various preserving liquids until the annual viruses knock. Reaping also means sacrifice. It reminds me that whatever I collect must be properly stored and cherished. I am grateful for the intellectual harvests of the last year, which I have internalized deeply in order to pick from it what I need when I need it. I am grateful for my emotional harvests, the lessons I've learned and the friends I have gained. For my healthy, happy family. I'm grateful for my herb harvest, albeit smaller this year than previous, what I didn't harvest is what flourishes strong in my garden only to grow heartily on into next year.
And I let go.
Things are changing for me. And although they are changes I have requested, it is still a change. Which means letting go of old expectations, habits, patterns, and allowing new ones to thrive. But when those old patterns show up - expecting to be obeyed - it's only human nature that I react with a sense of grief. Saying goodbye to ways that once brought immense joy, self-actualization, and success, is hard. In the moment it's hard to remember that good things are on the horizon and will serve me well. Changing relationship to career, work patterns, and most poignantly my self-identity has struck a chord of mourning in me.
So as I lay, sobbing uncontrollably in the middle of a sleepless night, I sob deeply into the roots of my Echinacea plant. She called me into the garden from my dark porch step, asking that I shed my tears into her lap and let it all out, into the soil, into the arms of Mother Earth and daughter of the stars. And so I did, my back to the cool night air and my face cradled by the large green leaves. Her flowers are so tall, I felt completely protected. She seemed to drink in my wretched potion of feeling like a fertilizer.
I think about mourning, how it really means "to remember". I give thanks for the good things I remember from before. And I remember my new goals, new wishes, and new ways.
In the morning, my throat hurt terribly. I knew I was coming down with a cold. So I collected some roots and leaves from her and have been drinking the infusion of it throughout the day, along with some other cold fall allies, Osha (which I use rarely - but I could use some bear energy right now), ginger root, and licorice root. And I am taking my lovely oregano tincture. I don't think my cold will last more than a few days ...... if I take care enough to grieve properly and allow change. It is annually a hard time for me anyway, as I vehemently despise winter and become resentful that I have to suffer through so many weeks of cold weather before my green friends and warm sun return.
And so, I feel Echinacea is a tremendous ally for grief. Personal identity crisis, and seasonal adaptability.