Ode to the Garden

Every day this month has brought a new hint of the change of seasons, a firm farewell to summer, and a gradual lead up to the autumn equinox. Perhaps it’s more like a wind down, a slowing of nature’s pulse. The first leaves curl at the edges and our wood floors are cool under my bare feet. I still wake too early, but now the birds are quiet and it’s cool and dark as I venture outside. I see the moon before I see the sun. A few stars remain. Crumpled brown leaves blow in from a new direction and collect in the front entryway. Clouds merge and blow apart, holding more moisture, though still no rain. The sky is a lighter shade of blue. I throw my flannel shirt in the car when I go out, just in case.

The arrival of the equinox reminds me it’s time to give thanks to the garden and the gardener as the plants give their last gasp. After being away, I’m seeing all the work in front of us: the weeds, the shriveled eggplant, the holes in the peppers, the mildew on the zucchini leaves, the flowering basil, the bean vines weighing down the trellis so it breaks, the sprinkler heads that stopped working, the mud showing through the bark chips, the weeds, the flowers that need deadheading, wilted iris mess to clear away, and crops that need to be picked, washed, trimmed, cooked, and frozen. And did I mention the weeds? And can we win a race with the rains?

But then I recall what I learned from raising and homeschooling kids. It;s always easy to see what they’re NOT doing, NOT learning, NOT achieving. I had to train myself – what ARE they doing, what ARE they learning? It was truly amazing from that perspective. Soon I could grant myself that same grace, and stopped looking at what I can’t do, don’t do, haven’t done yet (though this part takes continual practice).

Now it’s time to grant that generosity to the garden, and walk through the jungle of it with a deep appreciation for ruby reds, glowing golds, lush greens. For the way my hands carry the unique scent of tomato dust and basil perfume. Time to delight in the miracle of nature, backyard gardens, life cycles that never cease, and recall the children that ran and played and feasted among the garden beds. And give appreciation to the gardener and chef that I married.

Here you see the best of the best, our yard perhaps looking like something out of Sunset Magazine, only the successes and the succulence, the succor our full freezer will bring us in the cold winter months to come, when we taste the summer love, and remember only the magic of it all.

7 thoughts on “Ode to the Garden

  1. Pingback: Ode to the Garden – Ascension Tecsol Global Division of Faith Management Solutions 501c3

  2. Oh, I am jealous….You have a gardener and a chef…..I am it and Florida is challenging with bugs and mold and super hot in my first summer gardening attempts. I would love to see the abundance and beauty from my efforts like what I see here. All in the “what I am learning” for sure….Thank you for reminding!

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    • And never in a million years would I have known it when I met him. Our first year in the garden here in the PNW was full of bugs and failures, and every year has been differently successful, learning what works and what doesn’t in our yard and climate, and then rolling with the different weather every year. And, as you know, you can point the camera lens a different way and get a whole new story. Thanks Tina.

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  3. Yes to all the subtle (and not so subtle) changes. Your garden looks fabulous; well loved and tended. If we can say so much about our lives too, we are lucky people. Love the musing about seeing what we CAN do, rather than what we CAN’T … good advice. I’ll work on making that a part of my own practice. Gorgeous words and photos … like a sweet little lingering bit of summer.

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  4. I read this in bed before I got up this morning. Such a beautiful way to begin the day. Thank you for you. I too loved the CAN do vs CAN’T do musing. Thank you for that. And what my garden does do rather than what it doesn’t do. Thank you tiny partly successful garden. Lovely peas and cherry tomatoes. And pretty awesome on some of the flowers too! Now, bring it on, autumn!

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  5. Ah, autumn, with winter coming fast behind, breathing down my neck. I need to take it slower, welcome each warm day and store it up. I’m getting old and cranky. Your garden is a whimsical delight. Thanks for reading G.

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