• Julie Douglas

Welcome to Fall!

Updated: Dec 3, 2019

Read on for Fall insights, cultivating gratitude for abundance

and refocusing energy during this seasonal shift.

A few of my fall favorite things: Partridge berry, Persimmons, Turley Tail mushroom and Goldenrod

The end of summer is here and it’s just now feeling like it! September was oddly warm and dry here in WNC, but the past few days I’ve noticed crows cawing and the earthy smell of wet, decomposing leaves. Can ya smell it?

Seasonal changes generally bring a sense of nostalgia as well as a shifting of energy and focus both in the physical and emotional body. On September 23rd the Autumn Equinox greeted us with the move from Spicy Summer into Fuzzy Fall. For many, fall is a welcome relief from late summer’s hot, intense and busy energy. If you take a moment to look around, notice your plant friend’s experience late summer and early fall- they're lookin' pretty cripsy, wilty, and starting to die back and go inward. It's a whole MOOD. There’s a reason for that…

The aerial parts of a hardy perennial plant will "die back" in fall. The whole plant does not die, rather it focuses its energy on supplying the roots with nutrients in order to survive winter. It's giving back. Still alive and vibrant, but the focus has shifted. This is why it's best to harvest roots once they've died back, there are more nutrients in the roots since the plant is not using its energy to "feed" the leaves and flowers. Seen from a culinary perspective, a frost will make carrots, beets and brassicas taste sweeter because the cold helps to convert starches into sugars.

Gravel Root (Eutrochium purpureum) also known in Appalachia as Joepye Weed, a useful medicinal for chronic kidney, prostate and bladder conditions. Notice the plant starting to die back, the energy and nutrient focus is going back in to the roots to help it survive winter.

Play along with me and let's use this analogy to think of yourself as a lovely perennial plant- it's the end of Summer, you're feeling crispy and a bit exhausted, maybe your energy reserve is feeling low because of all the active and outgoing things you've been engaging in. You still want to enjoy and appreciate the weather, you're not completely ready to cozy up on the couch with a good book (maybe you are) but the feeling is...different. The focus has shifted. Your body and mind may be hinting that you need some internal self-care, some nourishment, some reflection, gratitude and processing before winter comes. Listen to it! Fall is the perfect time to shift that outward summer energy inward, give gratitude for summer’s abundance, and plan for the nourishing and rejuvenating winter ahead.

In the past, this is where melancholy and the blues would start to creep into my mind. Summer is over and that means winter is just around the corner. In the past I’d be looking ahead with negative feelings because I'm not a huge fan of cold, wet winters like the ones we tend to have in Western NC. Last September was the first time I really felt ready for fall and restful winter.

Cardinal Flower (Lobelia cardinalis) blooms late summer and early fall.

I've been busier than ever with running a business solo and evolving Wildkrafted Kitchen. I haven't really allowed myself time to be present, relax, enjoy the process and enjoy just BEING. I'm physically and mentally exhausted, my spirit became a little wilted but it's still alive! I’ve been feeling renewed and re-inspired since the weather went from 90 degrees to 60 degrees overnight. I'm excited to allow myself the time to rest, process, restructure and refuel in the coming months.

Wild Scuppernong grapes, the official fruit of North Carolina.

The Autumn Equinox is all about gratitude for abundance and giving thanks for the bounty and community spring and summer has provided us. If you also struggle with being present and grateful, I challenge you to write down 3 things you're thankful for daily. A gratitude journal has helped me realize just how damn lucky and privileged I am for existing on this gorgeous orbiting ball of perfectly constructed elements.

I hope this seasonal shift has left you feeling inspired, grateful and alive.

What are some routines and rituals you are excited to incorporate in your fall self care practice? Comment below and share your insights!

Wild Muscadine grapes, a lovely trail snack high in antioxidants and resveratrol.

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