Fall’s Gathering of Friends and Seeds – by Kate Sanders

I grew up in a family with a very large garden.  We picked, shelled, gathered what we could from other places, hunted, fished, dried, canned, and stored what we could.  As a kid, not much came from the grocery store.  As a result, and probably for other reasons too, I am tied to the seasons.

Community and friends seem to have seasons too.  In the spring, once the ice melts, everyone is out and about talking, making impromptu plans, continuing conversations and projects that had been dormant over the winter.  Once it gets warm, and we are in the midst of the carefree days of summer, community events and friend gatherings are at their height.  In spring, and in summer, people are wont to be adventurous and gather without reserve, or particular reason other than the appreciated warm weather.  In the fall, especially once the temperatures cool off and we feel that change, gatherings seem to get more prescribed.  We make it a point to spend time with people we won’t spend as much time with over the winter for one reason or another.  Finally, in the winter when it is cold, and snowy, it feels like meetings with friends are the most intentional, and infrequent of all.

Fall is the season I look most forward to.  I love the way the cool air feels on my face, while I am warm under cozy layers of sweaters and wooly socks, a warm cup of tea in my hands whilst my nose is still cold from the outdoors and tucking my toes under the dog to warm them.  I love the way the air smells, the beautiful colors, apples, and the fall rain.  Most of all, I look forward to collecting seed.

When I started volunteering, I was a dutiful collector, going off and coming back with the best haul I could at each stop.  As I grew to know the Blue Heron Community, it became just as important to me to collect seeds of wisdom and understanding, seeds of patience and perspective, seeds of observation, seeds of truth, from the community I was collecting with.  This year I realized, I do not collect as much native plant seed as when I started, taking time too now for fellowship and collecting other kinds of seed.

Blue Herons scatter at the Tri-State Airport prairie remnant to gather this fall's seed.
Blue Herons scatter at the Tri-State Airport prairie remnant to gather this fall’s seed – photo by Nate Simons

Fall is the season where I find myself in the midst of two communities where I feel more at peace than anywhere else.  The first community being the native plants around me as we collect, the second the community of volunteers who collect seed, aka Blue Herons.  This combination of two of my very favorite communities is more joyful than I could ever find words for.  It is treasured time with old friends and new, plants and people alike.

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