Season.... The word comes to us from the Middle English sesoun through the Old French seson and the Vulger Latin satio, meaning time of sowing or planting, all arising from the Latin serere, meaning to sow. Season shares its origins with the word seed, and both are concerned with fertility, fruitfulness and nourishment.
We use the word to mark four distinct divisions of the calender year as defined by designated differences in temperature, rainfall, daylight and the growth of vegetation, both wild and cultivated: Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter.
In earlier times, a season simply marked the interval within which an important hunting and/or agricultural activity was undertaken and completed i.e. the planting season, the harvest season, the hunting season, the dormant season. Each season is complete within itself whether viewed through the august lens of the calendar year or the loving eyes of a crone and her lens wandering the Great Round - each season is a cycle with its beginning (sowing), its center or middle (cultivation and nurturing) and its completion (harvest or reaping).
In much the same way, to season a broth or stew is to undertake a savory sowing of foodstuff with the seeds of taste and ambrosial fragrance. Be it the sowing, tending and reaping of one's vegetable garden or the careful addition of herbs and spices to a casserole, it's all about nurture and enjoyment.
The first falling leaves are already drifting into our path on early morning walks, and a week from tomorrow, September begins - no doubt about it, autumn is not far away now. If you live in the north as we do, the coming season is about apples, rain and falling leaves - the words form a lovely rustling mantra as we wander about the village and through the highlands. It's all good. With sweet and spicy things we will season our autumn days.