The fall and the coming of winter with ever shortening days and morning frosts bring a slower pace of life here. The anxious hurry of survival is replaced by the preparation of dormancy. And that comes so slowly that it is hardly noticed until it has happened.
It seems that it wasn’t too many days ago that the constellation Orion was barely visible above the eastern tree line an hour before the late August daybreak Now, with the earth’s backward leaning, it is prominent in the southern night sky, overseeing the coming of colder days.
Since Augusts’ last days, the horses and the goats thin summer hair has grown out into thick mats of fur that shed water and hold body heat. The chickens have for the most part finished molting, dropping faded, tattered year old feathers for new, glossed and colorful ones. The bees have stopped sending out foragers to find pollen and nectar. They have joined together around the queen to form a single working organism that just days ago was an organized confusion of many thousands. In clustered formation, they generate body heat to protect the queen through the winter, moving through the frames surviving on stored honey.
I too have made changes. I have gained some weight- a combination of slowing down and the naturalness of storing reserves throughout my body. My hair has thickened. My skin, especially the exposed skin on my hands, has dried and hardened so to lose some sensitivity to the cold. All this too, has happened almost unnoticed, taking months to come about.
These are only a few of the things I have seen come winter around the farm.
Once again, I am fascinated how seasons cause us and everything else to change long before change is needed. It’s as if someone is looking out for us….