Where I live in New Hampshire the first colors and scents of fall are emerge. Fall for me is a bittersweet time of the year. Fall marks the end of the growing season. The days become shorter and the abundance smaller. There is a blessing in ending the growing season too because by fall I am tired of the intensity of long days in the garden.
Fall is a transition time, an in-between summer and winter. In nature, the leaves stop producing chlorophyll and change their color. Then the trees let go of them until they stand bare and direct their energy inward into the roots.
Fall in TCM (Traditional Chinese Medicine) is associated with the metal element that gives structure and form when the winds are blowing. Trees that lose their leaves are reduced to their bare bones; roots and branches, to keep them grounded to the Earth.
If you pay attention, you will notice that you too transition in the fall. The body slowly learns to adapt to the longer nights, the cooler weather, and the winds. Your soul adapts by turning gradually inward, relishing in a warm cup of tea and contemplation.
One thing that I noticed about myself in the fall is that I need more rest. While during the summer I wake up at 5 am and start my day in the garden at 6 am, in September the sun will rise only at 6:30 am and I need to sleep in (maybe until 7 😏)
There is vulnerability of the body and psyche in transition times, so taking time to slow down, listen for what you need, and care for yourself. Self care is especially beneficial for preventing disease in the transition seasons fall and spring.
The winds of fall carry a cooling and drying energy. To balance these energies you want to add foods and drinks that are warming and moistening to your daily diet.
Fall is the time when I transition from cold salads to warm soups. In my cup, I replace the lime water with lemon ginger or lemon rosemary tea.
As always, nature provides just what we need to balance the energy of fall.
In the fall we harvest fall fruits and roots.
In the vegetable garden, you will find that the fall harvest is made mainly of fruits like pumpkin and squashes, that are moistening and that can be kept into the winter.
Roots like garlic, onions, and ginger are warming. You want to use them with care as too much warmth can be drying too.
In the herb garden, I dig the roots of ashwagandha, astragalus, licorice, dandelion, burdock, and marshmallow.
Roots have an in-between quality to them too. They are nourishing like foods because of their sweet taste which is a manifestation of the presence of polysaccharides but at the same time, they are medicines that moisten and improve digestion and immune functions.
Although we preserve food for the winter all summer, there is an urgency in the fall. You can see it in the way that squirrels are scurrying around carrying acorns.
Are you curious to learn more about the fall season?
Join the Inner Circle and learn how to care for your family in the fall. (including hand-on instructions and recipes)