The cicadas are singing the swan song of summer, and she is beginning to dress for autumn. The world is still mostly green, but every so often, a stiff breeze will shake loose a few golden leaves and blow them past me as a reminder that the wheel is turning. Some people resist these days of waning at first, but that first cool night that creeps through my screen and into my bedroom lays an old familiar blanket on my skin and I’m comforted by her touch and her scent. It’s the scent of tired leaves and ripened seedheads and longer shadows. It’s the scent of grass cooled by the morning dew and the cedar chest from where I pulled my extra quilt. She reminds me that summers never last, but they do indeed come around again after a period of much-needed rest. After every period of expansion is a period of contraction, followed by another period of expansion, and so on. Once you recognize the pattern, you’ll find its threads woven into everything; in the seasons, in our breath, in green and growing things, in the birthing of people, planets, stars, and ideas, in living, in dying. It’s finding harmony in and engaging with this rhythm that brings me a great sense of security, connection, and enchantment.
The story of the corn mother
In pre-industrialized, pre-Christianized Europe, it was believed that the female spirit of the grain lived in the fields with the crops. Once all the crops were brought in, she no longer had a home, and so the last sheaves were reaped in ritual and used to make a corn dolly to embody and honor her spirit. She was kept warm and safe in a place of honor in the home all winter, and in the coming spring, she would be tilled into the earth to infuse the new crop with her generous spirit of fertility.