The leaves are turning golden and scarlet. Not all of them, not yet. Just tiny flashes of splendor in the mountains. It catches your breath. It’s as if you’ve seen something mythic, magical, and holy peeking out at you from the dark woods.
Harvest is my favorite season. The Lammas Tide wells up, then ebbs as the Hallows Tide washes in. Wrapped up in the busyness of heat and summer, we rush around until something catches our breath. Suddenly a flash of scarlet in the leaves, or a cool chill awakens you. You stop, marvel and your perspective changes. Summer is ending, the growing season is past and the season of introspection and harvest begins.
In Wicca a lot of attention is paid to the extremes of polarity and not so much to the continuum flowing between them, the tension held there. I think it’s no accident the two biggest festivals celebrate the earth when she is neither one nor the other but caught in a liminal state. Beltane is not yet summer yet no longer winter. The earth has greened up but hasn’t settled into the deep greenness of summer. The earth wears her leaves like a new hat. Samhain shows the earth at a very different liminal state. No longer modestly covered in leaves, the earth shows her flesh, her bones and decorates herself with flashes of color.
This is the season that feels sure of itself, that knows exactly what it’s doing, and reminds you to pay attention, because nothing lasts. The whole world goes up in flame before it fades into the bleak, ascetic beauty of winter. The earth is a grand old dame, and she plans to go out with elegance and vivid color.
We can’t help but notice this. We stop, catch our breath, realize summer’s indomitable hold is breaking at last and everything about us changes. A quietude washes over us. We are edged with anticipation. We are watchful. We are thankful.
I love this time of year. It seems filled with a dignified holiness, a gravity that pulls you back to yourself, and a promise of marvels to come.