Day by day and night by night the wheel turns. Autumn is turning crisp, and even it’s golden sunny afternoons require sweaters and wool socks. Yesterday, the ground was a sparkling white in the morning, and before I stepped outside, I knew the first frost had come. I heard the frozen grass tips crunching under Gus’s feet as he ran out to pee, lifting his leg to send a steaming yellow waterfall onto the trunk of the red maple. The leaves are falling and the trees are beginning to look half-dressed. It will be Samhain in just a few short days, also known as Dark of the Moon, Hallow’s Eve, All Souls Night, Night of Hecate and Caillleach, Feast of the Dead, Festival of Remembrance. It is the Celtic New Year, affirming rebirth in the midst of death and darkness. I have heard it told that the veil between the worlds is thin at this time of year. That the ancestors and the dead are close by. It is indeed a time of letting go. A time to honour life’s thresholds and crossings, to honour the passages of life and death.
This week our beloved cat Moph passed away. And as I write this sentence I am searching for words, meaningful words that might contain our love and sadness, the deep down ache and the swells of grief. Perhaps though, there are no words to be found that can contain this depth of heart. It is a wide open infinite expanse, that is the territory of love, the poetry of a life lived and shared. Who can name it, tie it down to a combination of words on a page? Moph, beautiful feline friend, thank you for sharing your journey with us, 13 years and 6 moons to the day. We will miss you, the sound of your feet, little staccato notes across the creaking hardwood, your rumbling purr, your fierce entrance into a room as you pushed doors open with your gleaming white paws, as though to say “fear not, I am here.” We will even miss the meow that woke us each day at 4:00 in the morning to feed you. We will miss you Moph, every thing about you, we love you, now and always.
Moph~ April 25 1998 – October 25 2011
Yes, indeed, it is a time of letting go, a time of darkness both literally and metaphorically. And still, there is a kind of exquisite unnamable beauty that prevails, and soothes, and brings us to a place that is beyond even sadness, or happiness for that matter.
It is a new moon today, and the nights in the country are dark and long. They are so dark that if you wake in the night, you cannot tell if your eyes are open or closed. We are getting to know the moon more intimately these days. We have even begun to work with her rhythms on the farm, pouring over Rudolph Steiner’s texts to find out what biodynamic agriculture truly means. You see, this includes following the lunar/astrological calendars of planting, just as the ancient ones did. “The approach considers that there are astronomical influences on soil and plant development, specifying, for example, what phase of the moon is most appropriate for planting, cultivating or harvesting various kinds of crops. This aspect of biodynamics has been termed “astrological” in nature.”(wikipedia)
With the moons influence in mind we waited until she was two days before new before we planted our winter manure crop of rye. According to the locals, this crop will give the soil more nutrients than it takes, making it a rich bed of minerals for spring planting.
We have also, under this same moon, began planting berries and preparing a space for our orchard. Our raspberries, blueberries and gooseberries are now nicely tucked in, under a dark moon, in a nutrient rich soil. The deer fence is now complete to keep the agile hooved ones from leaping into our garden and eating our precious plants.
This next week we will turn our attention to preparing the plot for the orchard. We have, after much thought and expert advice (from Mark’s good Dad), selected the apples we want to grow. There is much to consider beyond which ones are pleasing to the palette. Size of tree, time of blossom, number of years before fruit, how well the apples keep, when they ripen… all things to ponder. We have been tasting many an apple. Each night with our tea we slice up another variety to savour and consider. I think we have narrowed it down, but I won’t give you our selection just yet, lest we change our minds.
And so I will sign off on this note, on a note of sweetness. Wishing you a beautiful day and a magical new moon.