Keeper of Seasons Hall met to celebrate its fourteenth Winternights November 6, 2011. Though the drought gripping New Mexico had continued, there had been enough precipitation that the Bosque was once again open (in fact, it had rained for a few hours the previous morning), so we met at the Pueblo Montaño trailhead and hiked for a time until we reached our destination on the bank of the Rio Grande. The site was one we had not used for many years, but it offered a spectacular view of the river; during our time there, we were made aware of the presence of ducks, cranes, ravens, and crows.
Though the weather was mild, forecasters had predicted a chance of rains and wind for the afternoon. We decided to go through the rounds of sumble while we shared our food and drink in a potluck picnic with the idea of finishing before we encountered any unpleasant weather. After we hailed the gods, our ancestors, and heroes (especially the disir, in keeping with our tradition of honoring our female ancestors at this time of year), we spent some time boasting, toasting, and making a few oaths. Deirdra made an offering of poetry to Odin to fulfill an oath she had made to the Allfather, and to mark my first full year as Ritari and my seventh Winternights with Keeper of Seasons Hall, I recited “Whoever First Quenches the Flames,” a villanelle I had recited in honor of Ullr during my first blot with the hall. Following the rounds of sumble, the remainder of the drink was poured in libation, and we continued our picnic feast. During our sumble and picnic, we were visited by many yellowjackets, likely drawn by the smell of our food and drink. They were peaceful, though, made sleepy by the onset of winter, and the most difficulty they created was occasionally falling in someone’s drink.
As we concluded our picnic, we decorated a grapevine wreath that Debbie and I had cut and made at home. We adorned the wreath with herbs, flowers, and vegetables, and once the wreath was completed, we made an offering of it to the landvættir and the river. Debbie had also brought her camera, so we took a few pictures before leaving. On our way out, we talked of things of interest in our lives and more wide-reaching events, eventually reaching the trailhead and saying farewell until our public meeting the following weekend.