Have you ever read that the ancient folk felt the new year began upon Samhain, which we now call Halloween? If you live close to the land, this soon comes to make sense. It is the time the goats and sheep have bred and the new kids are in the womb, freshening the dairy flock. It is the time the old livestock are culled and butchered, renewing the meat flock. It is the time the harvest comes to an end and the root cellar is filled while the gardens are tilled, renewing the land. It is the time one starts gathering firewood and the beginning of making the winter fires. It is when the cheeses and smoked meats are set aside for the year, with the pickled, brined and canned produce and sausages, beginning a new round of laying up the bounty of the land. It is the time the ceilidhs renew in earnest, when folk play music and tell tales to pass the long, dark northern nights. Samhain is the renewal of the year when you live by Earth’s schedule. December 31–what is that? A pause in the slumber. Autumn is where the sleep, the dream and the awakening begin.