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Do herb nerds like fall?

Updated: Feb 7, 2023

Everyone loves fall.

I am not those people. I'm a spring/summer gal. Now, I don't necessarily dislike fall, but to me it had underlying factors I didn't like, such as school starting and the lead in to winter, which I still struggle with more than any other season.

But as I took my morning walk today, I finally came to what might be the reason that I don't get into all those fall crazes like most other people I know.

Taking note of my surroundings, as most of us do as we go on a walk or run, I found myself saying a mental or energetic 'hello' to plants I recognized. I was happy to see some that I 'know' before the cold takes over, the leaves die, and many hunker down beneath the ground in preparation for winter.

I realized I will be saying goodbye to most of the plants I've come to recognize, know, and love, and that I won't be able to mosey around seeing them till spring, if not later. And THAT, my friends, is my problem.

Over the years my affinity towards plants has taken, as some might say, a bizarre turn. In the past 10 years especially, I have gotten pretty weird. I don't just notice plants. I don't just feel an appreciation for them. I KNOW them. I am drawn towards some more than others, and feel deeply connected on some level which is hard to explain. I love certain plants as much as other people might love their cat. Is that weird? Probably. Plant people understand what I'm saying. I don't think dog people will.

There is some very distinct connection between humans and plants. We are connected more than a lot of people realize, especially due to our coevolution. And, as we learn more about how plants communicate amongst themselves, I think it might make even more sense that some people feel so inherently drawn toward them.

I know the plants on my property like neighbors- actually I probably know the plants growing around me more than I know my neighbors! The big grandmother trees- I know each one. I walk by and let my fingers graze the rough, deeply grooved bark like I'm holding my grandmother's hand again. I notice all the younger trees around her, like a little tree family. I notice when the landscape changes due to a storm, and when a new baby starts to grow on the side of the path. I know where certain mushrooms grow, and which parts get sun.

I attribute this familial feeling to first being able to identify a plant. When you learn about a new person or place, it allows you to notice things you didn't before- to see with new eyes. When you are able to identify a specific plant among a curtain of green, it empowers you and you start to notice it everywhere! It becomes familiar, and you connect because now you know this thing.

My goal this year (or so) is to identify every species of plant that is growing on our 5 acres of woods. This actually isn't too hard, since (I think) we have a lot of the same plants growing in it. Unfortunately, I'll have to wait till spring or summer to really get going on this, and this is why I get so frustrated with fall and winter.

"But," the plant people will say, "you can still identify plants in winter!"

Yes, herb nerds, I guess technically that is true for some. But come on...not the same, man. Not the same.

And it is true that the longer dark times will force me into my house, where I can/should take the time to settle in with a book and learn more things which will be of use in the spring.

But I feel kind of good to finally maybe understand and be OK with why I'm not a huge fall fan. My friends are going away! I will be limited in light and plant life in the coming months. My garden is yucky and sad. My chickens and bees are cold. I'm cold.

But, OK, I'll also acknowledge the things I like about fall, so I'm at least a little fair here:

The leaves are pretty.

I like pumpkin everything.

All the fall things are fun with kids.

I like Halloween.

I like fuzzy socks (but I don't like shoes!)

I like fall food.

I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder.

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