It’s that time of year: having met summer’s exuberance with near-tireless energy, there’s a pulling in, a settling down which I greet, this year perhaps even more so than others, with a quietly enthusiastic embrace. Done are the days of perpetual watering; of putting up the bounty of the garden against the months that are too cool for growing berries, beans, and tomatoes; of spending long hours out of doors just for the sheer pleasure in doing so. Now there will be more time for reading and writing, the plying of needles of one form or another as I sit by the fire, and savoring the aromas of sustenance simmering for long hours stovetop or roasting slowly in the oven.
The bees are ready too. Done are their days of rampant foraging, returning time and again to the hive with bellies full of nectar and pollen pockets bulging. Now the populations of the hives have dwindled according to nature’s dictate, and the smaller colonies will make use of the stored bounty of their forebearers’ efforts to sustain themselves through the winter. I’ve made one final inspection of each of the hives, ensuring that there is an adequate supply of honey and that the frames are arrayed to best support the colonies’ endurance through the cold months; the hives will not be opened again until late March when Mother Nature signals the return to dynamic growth of resources and bee populations alike.
The chickens are moulting, acquiring a fresh set of feathers to better warm them through the shorter, colder days ahead; the garden beds sport an aromatic layer of fortifying mulch; and the slipcovers have been changed, dishes swapped out, and the deep, dark corners of each room thoroughly dusted and cleaned in preparation for cosy hours spent indoors. We are, happily, ready at Acorn Lodge to shift into a different way of being for the next few months, just as the bees are ready to hunker down in their warm and secure hives for the winter.
But more than that, and somewhat wonderingly, I seem find myself more and more inclined to hunker down for the long haul: any trace of wanderlust that might have motivated me to travel in years past seems to have dissipated entirely as we’ve settled in here. I have no interest in planning for travel, no desire to take a break from here, and only the pull of communing with loved ones will induce me to leave — though even then, it’s with some reluctance. I can’t say with any degree of certainty how long this ‘winter’ without travel will last. Perhaps at some point there will be a shift in circumstances, as with Mother Nature’s prompt to the bees, that provokes an awakening of the urge to explore new places and experience unfamiliar ways of being. But for now, I am completely and utterly content with the content of my world: I feel myself privileged to be able to order my days exactly as I see fit and can conceive of no greater satisfaction than to live each of those days right here, gratitude for this wondrous experience being the source of my fulfillment.