The frost is now heavy in the mornings. It won’t be long until thick ice forms over ponds and puddles. A couple of days ago, I performed the annual Bringing-in-of-the-Birdbath ritual — transporting a wonderful stoneware piece by Doug France of Perth, from the herb garden to the basement for safe storage. Things always seem a little empty once the birdbath comes in for the winter — rather like I’ve removed the heart of the garden.

In addition to bringing in the birdbath, there are a few other autumn rituals around here. We clean out the woodstove pipes and put up reflective markers along the laneway so that the bordering gardens and trees don’t get taken out when the snowplow contractor makes his rounds after each storm. The yard has to be cleaned up, garden hoses stored away, and then an array of winter seed and suet feeders have to be put up around the garden.

Isn’t it odd how these seasonal rituals seem to be increasing in frequency with each passing year? While in the midst of lugging the birdbath downstairs, I’m thinking that it doesn’t seem like a year since the last time I did this. But then, if time is speeding up, why does winter seem to last forever?

Do you have an autumn ritual? Tasks that need to be done? Places you like to go, or things you like to do before the snow flies (that’s assuming it snows where you are)?

Tags: , ,

  • Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.
  • Trackback URI:
  • Comments RSS 2.0

12 Responses to “rituals”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    We’ve had three very frosty mornings, so Roger disconnected the water pipes to the greenhouse and rain-water collection tank, so they don’t burst during a longer lasting freeze. We’re definitly in yard clean-up mode. Not much snow here, but we try to get out and take long walks whenever it’s not raining or too windy.

  2. Duncan Says:

    That’s the best looking bird bath I’ve ever seen Bev, beautiful.

  3. Marnie Says:

    That is a gorgeous birdbath, indeed. It’s so perfectly matched to the grass and leaves.

    Just this morning I put away the hose and brought out the snow shovel — not that we’ll be needing it just yet in Toronto, I think. I’ve drained the rain barrel but haven’t disconnected the downspout yet. Still waiting for the big maple tree to drop its yellow leaves so I can rake them into bags, alternately inhaling the scent and sneezing!

  4. Dave Says:

    Damn, I gotta get me a birdbath like that!

    It’s not exactly a ritual, but one of my favorite markers of the season is when I bite into the first ripe Stayman Winesap apple, which happened a week ago Thursday.

  5. LauraH Says:

    Cleaning up the yard, shutting down the pond, setting up the peanut and suet feeders – I agree – seems like I just did these things!

  6. burning silo Says:

    Robin – We’ve had a couple of freezing nights now, so it appears that I brought the bird bath in just in time. We’ve actually had a few snow flurries already, but so far, it hasn’t amounted to too much. I’m hoping that we don’t get much on the ground until late December. We like to walk in autumn, and there’s something very nice about hiking on frozen ground with no snow — makes for some very easy walking, especially in places that are difficult to access when it’s wet. Last winter, we were able to hike in to some small secluded beaver ponds and walk around on the thick ice. I just love it when those kinds of conditions occur — unfortunately rather rare.

    Duncan – I love that bird bath. It’s one of my favourite pieces of functional pottery by Doug France. I have a couple of his large bowls and jars as well and they’re beautiful too.

    Marnie – I’ve got one maple that is always the last tree to lose its leaves. It’s just outside the window of the room where I write and draw. I’ve always thought that perhaps it retains its leaves just a little longer so that I can enjoy them — at least it’s nice to think that!

    Dave – Yeah, isn’t that one heck of a birdbath?! (-:
    I’ve been enjoying some of the locally grown apples recently too (including some from our own trees). There’s nothing quite like those fall apples!

    Laura – I find it odd how these annual tasks become so “memorized” by our bodies. I find that it’s often a very tactile thing when I’m doing tasks such as coiling up the garden hoses to put away, or hanging up and filling the bird feeders. I can understand how we memorize things that we do often, but find it interesting that even the less frequent can feel so familiar and connect us with a particular day or moment.

  7. pablo Says:

    Not much in the way of rituals for me. General yard clean up mostly. Actually, my wife manages to get most of this done during the day when I’m at work, so I miss a lot of that too.

  8. travelingdoc Says:

    Rituals are important. I feel we are losing them so maybe even need them more. Mine seem not grant enough so I need some lessons. Loved your bird bath, now that is significant and worthy.

  9. burning silo Says:

    Pablo – We do a bit of the non-ritual clean up as well, although probably not so much as most people as most of our gardens are close to wild now.

    travelingdoc – Awhile ago, I read that rituals are considered good for people, especially as we get older, as it keeps us in a familiar routine, and that that helps to keep us going. As mentioned above, I think what I like about rituals, is that the memory of certain activities stay with out bodies for months or even years. That seems a powerful and probably good thing.

  10. Randa Says:

    Hi Bev :) Many fall rituals to do, and always the undercurrent of anxiety that I will not get them all done before it gets too cold. Managing quite well this year, though, and even managed to get the garlic planted! (Something I always SAY I’ll do, but never get done!)

    Beautiful piece by Doug France. I visited his studio on the Thanksgiving weekend; I love his work. And his garden behind the studio just about made me cry; it was so gorgeous.

    My husband and daughted helped out two local potters this fall for the Autumn Studio tour (Jackie Seaton, across the road from Doug, and Glenn Gangnier in Brooke Valley). Each brought home a number of pieces from the respective potters. We love having lots of nice pottery in the house. It’s so personal and lovely to hold and use.

  11. burning silo Says:

    Hi Randa – Visiting Doug France’s studio is actually another of our “rituals” – for the Perth Autumn Studio Tour, and in the early summer when he usually has a studio sale… and yes, his gardens are just wonderful. We love his pottery and have several pieces and have also given quite a few pieces to others as gifts. I’ll post a couple of photos of bowls and jars sometime soon.
    Jackie and Glenn’s pottery is also beautiful. We also have some pieces by Lynda Hynes who has a studio between Smith Falls and Merrickville. So many very talented potters in that area.

  12. Randa Says:

    We have some of Lynda’s work too :) She is a good friend of a mutual friend of ours. The pottery community around here is very interconnected!