Through the Fire

Cooking our way into a new relationship with food!

When Autumn Leaves Start to Fall…

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Finally, it is Fall. It was a long hot dry summer here in Central California. The Gods seem to be celebrating the change of season today. We awoke to a cooler day and a (tiny) bit of rain! It felt really good.

This is the time of year when many plants stop producing flowers and fruits. It’s a time when leaves fall. Many of them put on a breathtaking display of beauty before they go.

Autumn landscape in twilight

Shamanically, the Autumn is a time of balance, as most evidenced by the Equinox. On this day, there is an equal amount of light and dark. It is a time to appreciate that balance. Where in our lives are we need to find balance ? work and play ? ( most of us!) negative and positive thinking and actions ? busy-ness and quiet? caring for others/caring for ourselves ? I highly recommend taking some time during this season to think about these things. It is a time of preparation for the darkness of the winter. Gathering what we will need, harvesting the light, making sure we have enough “food” and energy to sustain us.

In Chinese medicine, autumn is the season of the element Metal (or air). Grief is the emotion of the Metal element. We human beings, as well as those wondrous colorful leaves,  experience loss, separation, and “letting go,” and we appropriately feel grief at those times. Grief cleanses us of what is no longer needed in our lives. When the energy of Metal is blocked or imbalanced within us, our expression of grief likewise becomes imbalanced and inappropriate. It may be excessive and ongoing. Or, in the other extreme, it may be absent, as in those who cannot express their grief. In reading for this article, I found that just as we value the Metals of the earth – think gold and silver, so is the value of the Metal element for us – giving us that feeling of value and self worth. If our Metal element is out of balance, we are not able to feel our self worth. What a powerful thing for me to know as this is such a life issue, one of those deep Soul lessons for me! I will be taking this revelation to my acupuncturist soon and seeing what she can find.

Also, in Chinese Medicine, it is the season of the Lungs and the Large Intestine. We can see this as a time of letting go, releasing waste, and breathing in the freshness, the beauty.


The changing of the season also means changing up what we eat. The foods of summer aren’t available anymore and new foods come into season. Eating locally and seasonally is not a new idea. It goes all the way back to caveman/woman days. You ate what you could harvest and hunt. You relished the fresh greens out of the ground in the spring,filled your bellies with berries in the summer, dug roots in the fall,and saved what you could keep over the winter. We naturally gravitate away from the cold refreshing foods of summer – salads, juicy fruits, cold and tart.  Now is the time for roasting root vegetables, making pots of soup that fill the house with their aroma, sipping hot tea instead of iced, baking.

Go to the farmers’ market if you can, or look in your favorite grocery store for what is fresh and in season. Have you ever had a roasted parsnip ? celery root? a yellow or chiogga beet ? When was the last time you ate turnips, if you ever have ?? Roasting root vegetables is a delicious and easy way to enjoy the fall bounty.
Roasted Root Vegetables

Use what ever vegetables you like or want to try. These work well… carrots, potatoes, beets, parsnips, celery root, turnips, rutabaga, onions. The celery root you will want to peel, but I don’t bother with the rest. Just make sure they are clean and cut out the bad spots. I like bite size chunks. Cut everything approximately the same size. Preheat your oven to 450º. Fill a large sheet pan/baking sheet with your veggies. ( or two, if your oven is big enough) Coat with coconut oil or olive oil ( don’t be skimpy!), salt and pepper. Depending on your tastes you could add garlic ( whole cloves or granulated). Experiment with other herbs and spices – I love cumin, or herbs de Provence blend. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.( at least, depending on what vegetables you are using, it may take longer.) Check after the first 15, stir and turn over the veggies for even cooking. You can do that several times, but don’t open the oven too often.  You want some crispy caramelization.  Enjoy. I like the leftovers with eggs for breakfast.They can be tasty room temperature as well.

Here is a delicious recipe from for a celery root and cauliflower mash.

I’ll end with this lovely poignant song, sung by Eva Cassidy, who died before the world got to know her.

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