Somehow this apple escaped harvest and now hangs withered and alone in its barren bower.
The Seasons change and so do we right along with them. Just a few months ago I was active in my lush, productive gardens working, reading under leafy bowers, eating alfresco on warm Summer nights.
I do miss those activities as we hasten into Winter. Still, I find myself burrowing more fully into my warm, cozy home.
Slowing down, sipping cups of hot chocolate, piling the woodstove with logs and curling up with a good book, enjoying candlelight on dark, stormy afternoons are now the simple pleasures I gravitate toward.
We are Seasonal creatures.
While we may live in artificially warmed and cooled homes, shop cosseted within weatherproof malls, subsist in vehicles and work spaces programed to be comfortable at all times, on inner levels we still hum in harmony with Nature's rhythms.
In this Season, instead of being active and outwardly directed, I find myself naturally "going to ground" - hibernating -by being a bit more reclusive, less on the run, and gravitating toward homier comforts, foods, and pleasures.
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In seed-time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy. ~William Blake
Clean straw makes the raised beds look tidy. Other beds will receive used straw from the hen house to fertilize them over the Winter for eventual Spring planting.
While our Winter weather holds off I'm mulching my garden beds...with leaves, broken twigs, corn husks, and straw from the hen house rich with droppings.
In doing so I'm protecting, tidying, and fertilizing...
Elm and other fallen leaves are raked into this bed in the kitchen garden to insulate the roots of perennial Jerusalem artichokes, chives, and scallions.
A mulch of corn husks arrives unbidden from the corn field across the road. Winds blow in this cost-free vegetal blanket that serves to protect roots of native plants and Nanking cherries from Winter's chill.
What comes to mind when I think of mulch?
Protection. Hidden life stirring in the folds of unseen places. Creating a cosseting environment from which new life will eventually emerge.
Using the garden as a metaphor for life how do we create (mulch) an environment for new possibilities?
For me, planning a new project or venture is akin to laying mulch. It is preparation with a definite plan in mind...albeit a plan that may not come to fruition right away.
Resting beneath "mulch" is the pause between planning and creation. It is that pregnant space where plans become reality and take on a life of their own.
In the garden or garden of life, mulching lays the nurturing groundwork where inspiration, dreams, possibility, and potential become real and tangible.
Jerusalem artichokes in the Kitchen Garden have been cut back for the Season.
Often at this time of year snow lies on the ground. Jackets and snow boots are required attire. However, this December is sunny and mild...so far.
As a gardener I'm taking full advantage of these balmy days. What I now get trimmed, deadheaded, pruned, raked, and cleaned up will be work I won't have to do in the Spring.
Work now, relax later! I'm looking and planning ahead.
Gardening can, indeed, be a metaphor for life. Planting, weeding, gathering seed, fertilizing, deadheading and pruning...these are all tasks that can teach us something about life...about ourselves.
I've been cutting the garden back - tidying, pruning, deadheading. In doing so I'm removing what is no longer essential - what has produced fruit or flowers but has now died back - so that come Springtime new growth will become evident and flourish unhindered by the detritus of the previous Season.
New growth will rise from roots that lie unseen in the cold Winter soil.
Fresh. Green. Productive. Seductive flowers. Succulent Fruit. All this coming from the new, the fresh.
What makes new growth possible? For a plant? A human being?
Pruning. Deadheading. Removing what no longer serves. Baggage from the past. Old ways of doing things that no longer work or aren't worth repeating.
Forgiving. Letting go. Moving on. Moving toward...
Pruning. Deadheading. In gardening and in life. Getting back to basics. Cutting away the dead wood. Revealing what is fresh. Starting anew. Gardening is a metaphor for life!
Gardening and life lived well...not so different, after all.
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I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape — the loneliness of it, the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn’t show. ~Andrew Wyeth