Samhain Passes

Samhain is the pagan new year, the cross-quarter day that falls between the fall equinox and the winter solstice. It’s variously pronounced — I say “sah’-wen” — but if you want to keep calling it Halloween or All Hallows’ Eve, that’s fine with me. Some years the seasons slide one into another with no respect for the calendar, but this year Samhain marked a turning point. A nor’easter (aka “a three-day blow”) moved in for the weekend, with rain rain rain and wind wind wind. In its wake we had our first frost of the season. It was 29 F when I headed out to do my laundry Monday morning.

Last T-shirt laundry of 2011

I closed the skylight that was still cracked open and turned my heater on. It’s now set at 60 F. When the sun’s out, my studio apartment gets considerably warmer than that. Nevertheless, we’re now in the season where I wear two layers inside and add a third when I go out. There were at least six T-shirts in Monday’s laundry. I doubt we’ll see them on the line again before April. No longjohns yet, but I’ve had gloves on more than once. My trademark brown Greek fisherman’s cap is spending more time on my head and less on its hook.

A cool snap in mid-September alarmed me: my garden was laden with green cherry tomatoes, and I feared an early frost was imminent. It warmed up, it rained; nearly all the cherries ripened before the first hard frost. My 2011 garden is now officially defunct.

My dinghy garden, all tuckered out

The two tomato plants in pots on my deck didn’t fare nearly as well as their full siblings in the garden. Their first flowers appeared a scant three weeks ago, and the frost caught them with two little cherries maybe half an inch in diameter. The basil went from green to black overnight.

I had a feeling a week ago Friday that I was taking my last outdoor shower of the season. It was in the high thirties that morning. Before leaving for the weekend, I got out the rest of my long pants, longjohns, flannel shirts, and turtlenecks. Shorts, tank tops, and sleeveless dresses went into the box vacated by the cool-weather duds. After I got home, outdoor showers looked more like penance than pleasure, so I moved soap and shampoo inside.

My outdoor shower

This weekend we turned the outdoor water off. I disconnected and drained my garden hose.

The garden isn’t put to bed yet, but its time is coming. Fall has turned the corner. No longer is it harking back toward summer. Winter isn’t here yet, but it’s in the air.

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About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has two blogs going on WordPress. "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories" is about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard. "Write Through It" is about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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8 Responses to Samhain Passes

  1. susan robinson says:

    YOu are so good at letting us into your life.

    I want to see Travvy in the hat even if we also see you in it.

    What is rabbit, rabbit (unless it’s a secret MV thing).

    What is Travvy’s take on rabbits?

    Like

    • Travvy would love to sink his teeth into one of those rabbits that darts in front of the car. Now that he is all grown up (sorta), he no longer jumps into my lap in pursuit of rabbits. This is good: driving with a 90-pound furball in your lap is not sanctioned by the Registry of Motor Vehicles. Travvy also thinks that the rabbits and squirrels who run across the path 25 feet ahead of him are pushing their luck. I could lose my grip on the Flexi lead, then they’d be in big trouble. Especially the rabbits. They can’t climb trees.

      If you say “Rabbit, rabbit, rabbit” when you first wake up on the first day of the month, you’ll have good luck all month. I learned that when I was little. I also vaguely remember something about repeating “Bunny bunny bunny . . .” after you pass a cemetery and you’re only supposed to stop when you see a white horse. Or something like that. Google isn’t giving me any help on that one.

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  2. mvmartinam says:

    where is the picture of the green hat?

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  3. Sharon Stewart says:

    Wish I were as organized. So far I’ve managed to dig out a pair of alpaca socks (a bad buy from last year’s Christmas craft sale at one of the govt buildings where I tutor ESL students—38 bucks! I should have asked the price first). And I’ve started wearing shoes, too, now that my toes have been getting achingly cold in my Birks (and people were beginning to look at me askance, not that that’s ever been a deciding factor; a friend calls them birth control sandals, again not a factor).

    Sharon, who wears shawls against neck drafts, in Ottawa

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    • There’s an alpaca farm on Martha’s Vineyard — that’s why I know to ask the price of anything with alpaca in it. 😉 I’ve got friends who wear Birks all winter. Mind you, we’re in Massachusetts, not Ontario, but I still don’t get it.

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  4. Sara Crafts says:

    Yeah, but did you say rabbit, rabbit?

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