A Ritual of Goodbye

It is time for me to surrender to the season.

I know, I’ve been acknowledging it all over the place, right? And also, as long as we’re still talking about cold mornings and barely budded trees, I’m still clinging to my favorite part of the year: the chill and the dark, the leaf-fall and songbird-silence. I’m that weirdo who doesn’t particularly look forward to summer.

I’m trying, though. It’s not as if I had a choice — or would take it if I did. So welcome, spring. Really.

…But let’s have one last walk through autumn and winter first.

Back in October, I wrote this short piece about field offerings, after a windy walk as my favorite season opened. The feeling of it (and, sometimes, the practice detailed) has stayed with me through the past several months of daily walking, usually before or at dawn, in my local fields.

Sometimes it eases a difficult transition to properly say goodbye to whatever beloved is being left behind. Maybe seasonal change isn’t quite so dramatic for you. Feel free to interpret “difficult transition” broadly.

As a small ritual of farewell, then, here are some favorite images, in chronological order, of the beautiful darktime just past. They were received, and they are offered now, in that field-offering-spirit — which is reverence and whimsy and gratitude, all tangled up and tracked through the mud and pleasantly tired and sometimes a little sad.

Peace, friends.

A field offering of deliberately arranged maple, cherry, and hawthorn leaves.
Field offering, October

The year's last cherry leaves hang on to mostly bare branches, framing a sweeping field.
Last leaves, November

Pink-edged sunrise over stubbly winter fields
December sunrise

Venus and winter branches, clear sky and the almost-fire of sunrise.
Epiphany, January

Rain-soaked gravel drive with purple sky and sodden fields all around.
February rain

A dusting of soft pastel snow, framed by old apple branches.
A very late year for snow. Early March.

Halfmoon and hawthorn, in a barely frosted field on a clear dawn.
Final frost (so far), late March.

Thoughts? Questions? Stories to share?

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