In all of its sunburst-orange, cranberry, and gold majesty, what we are witnessing is the slow death of the seasonal life cycle. If spring is the bloom of life, then autumn is the bloom of death. The aromatic stew of decaying leaves, so sickly sweet, has begun to make itself known on the daily walks to and from pasture. Our exhaled breaths are once more visible: small clouds of fog, momentarily extant in the crisp outdoor air. The night encroaches upon the day, beckoning us to celebrate the constellations much the same as we do the sun.
This time of year has historically been one of transition for us. And though this autumn, too, includes a move from one home to another, it has only taken us a few hundred yards up the farm road at Consider Bardwell—from a home on wheels to a home with a foundation. More than a move, it feels as though we are opening the door to a new room in the same old house. For the first time in a few years, we are truly deepening our relationship with a place.
These days we find ourselves almost exclusively on the farm as we are in the final push of summer's work and the transition of all that is to be readied for winter. The changes are palpable: less hay to cut, less pasture regrowth, more crunching underfoot, more goat lust (ahem, it's breeding season). We sneak out for a drive through the mountain valleys when we can, most notably to visit the farm stand where we shop our CSA. It was at the Someday Farm stand that we began to feel rooted in a place, and with people, beyond just the farm. Learning new varieties of vegetables and fruits was magnificent (like finding out America's oldest apple is the same apple that grew in the orchard of Sam's childhood!). Gleaning every ounce of wisdom we could draw out from the farmers was even more exciting. It was there that we could buy a slab of salted butter from a seasoned farmer with just nine Jersey cows and get this sage advice: "the best way to get where you're going is to start by imitating people you admire."
Put simply, the reason that we are now living in Vermont is because there is so much to admire about the place. We wanted to come and learn how to imitate the people who were inspiring us from afar. What we are discovering is that, so long as we wish to emulate those people that we admire, we need to truly engage with and invest in the community. Part of that comes through simply consuming products from the farms that interest us. To carry Sam through the winter without a CSA, she will knit with the two skeins of Icelandic sheep chunky wool picked up from Someday Farm. Mark spent most of a recent Saturday afternoon packing a 3-gallon fermentation crock with cabbage, which we will enjoy as sauerkraut on New Year's Day and beyond. The deeper form of engagement, though, comes in form of relationships. During our last visit to the Someday Farm stand, we were invited to dine at their annual Thanksgiving dinner—an occasion that we had previously been anticipating with an uncharacteristic sense of dread due to our inability to spend such a cherished holiday with family. We have corresponded with the farmers at Longest Acres Farm, a small, diversified livestock farm that represents—almost to a T—what we hope to do ourselves someday. And with much gratitude, we continue to deepen our relationships with the good people who work the land with us right here in West Pawlet. Just as we are experiencing the bloom of death in the natural world, we are receiving a breath of new life from our adoptive community nestled here in the rolling, color-changing mountains of Vermont.
Next week we will travel back to the community of our upbringing, home to Ohio. We will celebrate the occasion of our sisters' marriage and the life-giving quality of their love with abounding joy. Then, we will finally move our belongings out of a storage unit and bring them back to Vermont with us. Welcome, October.
P.S. The incredible, best ever wedding invite above was designed by Ginny Maki, the same magical human who designed our blog logo. She's something else.