“Emptying and filling of fall”
1.Dia de los Muertos. Say what needs to be said. Remember what needs to be
remembered. Celebrate. Make amends. Ask for understanding. Invite in the
2.Clean things out. Scrub floors. Clear space for what comes next. Find what’s
hiding in the back corner of the closet and desk drawer and your heart. Ask
it if it wants to stay. Or wants your attention. Or wants to go live somewhere
3.Plant something that you will then forget about, knowing it will come to life six
months from now, when everything is thawing and the green starts to grow. Like
hyacinth bulbs in the dirt. Or ideas for where to wander. Or the beginnings of the
thing so wanted, you need to not speak it aloud to anyone just yet, so it can grow
strong before taking air into the lungs.
4.Harvest. Collect. Gather. Fill up the bookshelves and pantry and memory of
kindness and passport and the jars of bath salts. And say thank you.
5.Then, and, also. Let go. Release. Burn. Move on. Take what you need. But trust
there is more, without the constant need to cling. It is like a cadence in this
way, a kind of coming and going, offering and receiving, inside and outside,
gather and give away.
6.Take time to make a box for winter, for yourself, filled with what you might need.
It will help you get through. Put inside it the things that will be there for you
when the night is longer than the day, or the snow storm comes, or the gray
doesn’t clear, or you are just plain tired. Like books. Playing cards. Permission
slips. The number for Thai take out. Good socks. Spices for mulling wine or cider.
Candles and matches. Extra toilet paper for when you run out and it’s too cold to
go get some at the store. Glitter. A message in a bottle. Twenty dollars for
pizza. Put it together like a present to someone you love.
7.Feast. On your life. On beet salad and pie and collard greens and favorite foods.
On soup and sourdough bread. On the people you love and how they are all there,
sitting around a table, and lucky you, you get to be there too, and there is
nothing else that needs to happen except another round of toasts made, because it
is just more fun this way. Feast on choices made and grace given and the way the
coffee tastes first thing in the morning.
8.Grow in the dark. It nourishes. And it teaches. And in its own way, it loves the
9.Fall apart, if you want to. Unravel. And come together. Knit something. Stitch the
pieces into the whole, the way against all odds, we mend and make something
10.Walk. In the leaves. On the concrete. Through the wilderness or woods or cut down
corn fields. Down the city street. Out the door. Just walk.
11.Listen to your life. And let your life speak. This is it. You are here.

– Isabel Abbott