I linger in the apothecary. I’ve hung the boneset and spread the raspberry leaves to dry. There is more work downstairs in the kitchen yet, but I surrender a few precious moments to gaze out the window and watch the last of the dusky peach drain out of the sky and give way to the deepening blue.
The farmhouse is quiet and I am winding down the day, taking a final pass with the broom, corralling various bits of whatever plant matter is constantly under foot. A quick review of the forecast and the bottomless ‘to do’ list gives shape to tomorrow.
Laundry. Harvest and tincture oats in am. Gather sumac. Pull garlic. Garble mugwort. Make batch of lotion bars. Strain horsetail vinegar. Prepare tincture for A. Mix smoking blend for B. Send comfrey oil to C. Start 2nd ferment of kefir. Prep Saturday’s plant walk. Send in membership to the National Farmer’s Union. Advertise fall workshops. Update the books. Keep the records. Pay the bills. Dishes. Dishes. Dishes.
And always the sweeping.
I enter the sitting room closing the French doors behind me, shrinking my world and my cares to the four book-lined walls and the open windows that let in late summer night air and a chorus of crickets. Underneath there is the ever present thrum of traffic, the busy 6 lane road nearby a constant reminder of this farm’s urban setting.
The farm exists right at the boundary of city and country, in the feral, edge spaces between the two. ‘Burbs and big box stores flank my east and west. To the south is corn & soy farmland, and two parallel roads built atop sandy ridges left behind by an ancient sea, cutting into a remarkable bog/boreal ecosystem. To the north are small, scrappy woods, the highway, the river.
The traffic noise fades from my mind as I settle into my chair, cup of tea at hand. The old reading lamp casts a warm, mellow glow and suddenly I am overcome with anticipation. Reading in the evening! How long has it been? I pause for a moment, acutely aware of what this signifies. Another shift in the light. Shortening days and lengthening nights. An exhale. A wider sliver of opening that will take me slowly from the work of sun-drenched, blue-sky days into that season of butter light, wet leaves, warming spices, hot broths, slow cooked apples and finally to snow hushed rest.
But tonight it’s a few precious moments stolen from a busy harvest schedule to readBraiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. It’s been a months long wait for this book on hold at the library. I’m so thrilled to finally have it in my hands I’m almost too excited to read.
But then I begin and am caught up in the words.
“The question of goldenrod and asters was of course just emblematic of what I really wanted to know. It was an architecture of relationships, of connections that I yearned to understand. I wanted to see the shimmering threads that hold it all together. And I wanted to know why we love the world, why the most ordinary scrap of meadow can rocks us back on our heels in awe.”
~Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Wall Kimmerer.