There’s a lovely song in the musical Camelot, where Lancelot sings to Guennifar that he could never leave her in Summer (Your hair streaked with sun-light,Your lips red as flame, Your face with a lustre that puts gold to shame!), nor in Autumn (I’ve seen how you sparkle, When fall nips the air. I know you in autumn, And I must be there.), nor in Winter (running merrily through the snow? Or on a wintry evening when you catch the fire’s glow?) nor, inevitably, in Springtime (If ever I would leave you, How could it be in spring-time? Knowing how in spring I’m bewitched by you so?). Lancelot concludes:

Oh, no! not in spring-time!
Summer, winter or fall!
No, never could I leave you at all!

Which is a long-winded way (have I any other?) of saying that there is no bad time to get to know your landbase. But, today, I’m going to make a case for Autumn.

Here in my landbase, the magical MidAtlantic, Summer can be a pretty brutal month to be outside. If you live here long enough, you can kind of get acclimated to the heat/humidity/bugs. During Victorian times, British civil servants posted to Columbia’s District used to get extra pay for the tropical conditions, just as did those posted to equatorial stations. But Summer is the season most likely to make us chuckle that the only problem with nature religions is nature.

Winter, too, can be a difficult month for those of us who want to be outside. It’s cold, grey, often snowy or icy, and, even when there’s a thaw, Winter in D.C. can be muddy, posing the risk of broken hips or ankles for old women.

And, so, that leaves Spring and Autumn. My advice: go outside in Autumn. You can see the fruits, the results, the growth of everything and you can watch it die. Often, at this time of year, mist will wrap the land, making it unmistakably clear how magic everything is. And, developing a relationship with the land in Autumn will set you up perfectly to go outside again in Spring and see if you can find the same plant and watch it come alive. To go outside in Spring and see what that same patch of Earth does when the Sun begins to energize it. To go outside in Spring and see how that same liminal patch of pond-edge or river-bank or swamp-land slips slowly from brown to green.

Whether you are a new Pagan, just looking to being a magical relationship to your landbase, or an experienced old Witch, looking, here, while the veils are thin, to renew you connection to the Earth, go out and see the Earth sparkle, when Fall nips the air. If you’ve seen it in Autumn, then you must be there.

2 responses to “Landbase

  1. I’m visiting your landbase on business for the next few days, National Harbor to be exact. Having read often here of the joy you take in the Potomac, I walked down from the hotel to the river this afternoon. At first it was soul numbing. Nothing but concrete, steel, chain stores, generic restaurants, and noise. Worse, the river itself was effectively walled off by railings and massively quarried blocks of stone. So I turned around, and walked past my starting place, away from the developement. The path lost its pavement; I trod on river sand and gravel. The earlier sounds faded. Wind lapped water set a continuo for cricket thredony as ripieni. Periodic jet engine obbligato reminded me that in the wild I was not, but new growth was colonizing land that had clearly been bulldozed in the recent past, a promise that given time, all could be reclaimed. A glance back at the overly manicured plantings of exotic species previously passed failed to impress as much. Another ariel sound, this time a landing fanfare from the lead goose of a flock was my cue to go back. The prior noises returned. I missed the river. On a whim, I stepped over the barrier and made a careful way down the rocks until I could hear the lapping again. Very nice, but a little alto for a proper continuo. Or so I thought at first. The river’s basso line is pitched much lower than audible, on a frequency marked twice daily in ebb and flood. And the stone upon which I stood, The wavering lines of its structure spoke a name to me: Gneiss. Quick google — precisely Potomac Gneiss. The irony amused me, and I left refreshed,.

  2. plucky,

    I’m so glad you got to meet the real river. If you can get away to Teddy Roosevelt Island, you can see her even better. Enjoy your visit.

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