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Let’s Talk Trash: Aligning with the seasonal downshift

Where we can align with nature’s downshifting to a slower gear, we may discover the fortitude and joy we sometimes seek in the fast lane
Let's Talk Trash team member Ingalisa Burns took this photo during a hike on the coast last week.

At some point along the road of humanity’s evolution, our tires squealed out of sync with the seasons.

The Pacific Northwest is blessed with four distinct shifts of temperature, inviting all of nature to slow down. As much as we experience the benefits of extending daylight with electricity, being sheltered from the cold by a pumping furnace, and easily gleaning an abundant harvest from the grocery store, there are drawbacks.

Where we can align with nature’s downshifting to a slower gear, we may discover the fortitude and joy we sometimes seek in the fast lane. We can learn a lot from the natural way of things, which just so happens to support a less wasteful path.

In these cool coastal surroundings, at least, it would seem we were meant to be completing our harvesting and processing of the summer’s bounty now, just in time for the first frost.

Somehow squash soup with a side of kale salad and sourdough bread feels just right amidst the falling maple leaves and foggy afternoons of fall. With a pantry full of summer’s labour, it is natural to be turning our attention indoors, and more than likely inward as well.

Rather than pushing against nature’s dwindling light, what if your household offered a few evenings a week to beeswax candle light instead of glowing screens? The electronics and gas-powered toys we can infuse our lives with may be distracting us from the deeper opportunity of diving into the quiet.

Who knows what conversations or self-realizations await us there? By allowing for the pause, there is a spaciousness for the unplanned magical moments of life to move in.

Make no mistake, into these gaps your house might be filled with laughter, board games, novels read aloud, music jams, or a ludicrous game of charades. If you move outside, you could find yourself on a night hike, stargazing, snapping a fog-layered photograph, or inviting friends over for stories around a bonfire.

All that is certain is that without the break in the busyness of life, there is no chance for it to be filled by a seasonal inspiration.

Fall is a wonderful time to explore your inner artist, culinary skills or musical side. The lengthening evenings might call you deeper into arranging items gathered on a walk into a table centerpiece or hanging mobile, or trying your luck at a new recipe or piece of music.

Food preservation isn’t off the table yet either; cucumbers and squash can still be pickled, local mushrooms blended into a creamy soup, and brussels sprout dishes frozen. You might even start breaking open cans of preserved plums and apples to make your first fall crumble to be enjoyed during a game night.

Whatever the season inspires, may you and yours allow the exhale from summer to be felt. As fires are lit, pumpkins carved, and kids’ art projects brought indoors, you may find your fall footprint lighter than it has ever been.

Let’s Talk Trash is qathet Regional District’s waste-reduction education program. For more information, email or go to

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