The time of slowing down

By David Parkinson

Leaves turning as the days turn shorter and cooler

Leaves turning as the days turn shorter and cooler

Suddenly fall is upon us. Days are getting shorter quickly: the long luxurious evenings of the summertime are now cut short, and the sun which used to set over Harwood Island is now dropping down into Texada. Once below the horizon, the light does not linger as it used to. Night comes on fast. It’s harder to wake up early now that the sun is not banging at the windows at 5:00 AM. And more and more we have condensation in the mornings on our typically lousy west-coast single-glazed windows. Time to think of fires in the evening and space heaters by the bed. A meal of salad no longer fills the belly.

It’s a time of year which many people find mournful, since it spells the end of the riotous long hot oasis of summer, which is the time of year when everything seems possible if only because the days are long enough to fit any number of projects. The visible decline from sunshine to grey wet days is a tough one for many of us.

I like this time of year, though. There is something comforting, hidden underneath the distress at losing the warmth. It’s time to start contracting into projects centred on the home and time to start picking up the dropped threads of plans with other people who also have been too busy and outward-focused to think about developing common projects. Fall, for me, now means the beginning of the planning ahead to Seedy Saturday (March 13, 2010). And it looks as though a group of folks are going to keep talking and planning through the winter for the Exhibit Hall at the Fall Fair. And sometime during the winter I hope to start gathering together a gang of people to plan ahead for the 50-mile eat-local challenge and Edible Garden Tour (v2.0). I’m starting to remember some of the grandiose plans I had last winter, which somehow never came to fruition — a little like our cherry tree this summer. Maybe I’ll revive that idea of a cooperative… after all, I did convene a Working Group on Food-Security Cooperatives at the recent annual gathering of the BC Food Systems Network.

Another thing I look forward to is the return of the endless evenings spent reading. Summertime is such a whirl of activity that I struggle to find blocks of time wide enough in which to stretch out and get deeply immersed in good heavy books. Summer nourishes the body, but winter nourishes the mind. It’s much more difficult to feel guilty about lying around with a book when outside it’s pelting down cold drizzle, and has been doing so for days.

Who knows what plots hatched during this long wet winter will spring forth when the days begin to lengthen again?


1 Response to “The time of slowing down”

  1. 1 Keira November 4, 2009 at 21:47

    Slowing down is good for my health. I write lying down, take passes through the garden on sunny afternoons and rainy meanders with Dex as he sniffs the neighbourhood news. We like the North Shore forest in the dark months.

    Hips loosen
    jaw drops
    base of skull
    back of head

    Time to dream ideas that won’t make it out in the summer sun, exploding seedheads
    casting hundreds to the wind.

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