Cousin, Winter is Coming

Dear Cousin,

The world has felt intense lately, making me feel pressured, pushed. As though I have something I haven’t been attending to. I always feel like that, but this time, I can’t put my finger on what it is. Likely, what I need is to take a day to meditate, breathe, read, sleep. I need to walk through the woods and get grounded again, to step out of my small picture in order to see the big picture again.

I wonder also if there isn’t simply “end of the season” pressure, all those chores and tasks which need finished before all the warm weather has gone. The garden is now a brown, withered memory of a jungle. The mammoth sunflowers have all bleached and bowed over, the melon vines now nothing more than tan, leafless ropes winding beneath the weeds.

I should be outside now – walking, working, breathing fresh air, absorbing sunlight. But it’s chilly, and damp, and just want to rest, read and nap. I’ve tended to laundry this morning, dishes. I swept the floors and bathed the dog. That should be enough for a Sunday. This is, after all, the day of rest.

The summer breezes have turned into fall winds, and the forsythia bush grew high enough this year that her branches now brush on the outside of the bedroom wall on windy days such as this. Scratching, slapping, knocking. I do not care to listen to that all winter. It makes me think of goblins and ghosts and nevermore.

It is the spooky season. From Full Blood Moon to Halloween, this year October seems especially spooky, as if there really were spirits riding the winds, swirling the leaves and bending the trees. The nights are crisper, clearer, with a depth that pulls at your soul. At night, when I close the chicken house, the Milky Way is an obvious swath across the sky. Our beagle Daisy, who spent the summer with her nose to the ground following trails, now simply sits and lifts her nose to the air to catch the scents that pass by on the breezes. The cat spends nights in now, instead of nights out.

Won’t be long now cousin, and we’ll be another year older. I remember when we were your daughter’s age, sneaking out my bedroom window. Now we are both homebodies, not inclined to adventures. What happened to our initiative? Our need to explore and be seen? Did we trade it in for security and seclusion? Have you come to find your enlightenment? I thought I would have found mine by now.

I miss you. Our paths have always been different, but parallel. There are so few with whom I share a lifelong history, so few points of reference. I can tell where I am in relation to you. Have I wavered to far? Have I left my path? What has yet to come for us?

Winter is coming, cousin. Birthdays and holidays and winter. The thought of it all makes me tired. Perhaps this pressure I feel is a desire to hibernate, in instinctual push to prepare, to get ready for what is coming. I should go now. I should trim the forsythia and cover the vents and gather the green tomatoes for pickling. I may take a walk while I’m at it.