Once More Around the Sun

I’m pulling on a sweater to go on walks now. The leaves are almost finished turning and the trees are letting go. I imagine their thoughts as I pass underneath, some wistful, some tired, some clinging desperately to their little feather babes, some perturbed at the mess that will lie at their feet until a cleansing wind sweeps them away. I’ve been all the trees. I smile.

My friend’s garden is finished at about the same time my friend is, both ready to do something else for a while. The grapes are juiced and standing in resplendent purple above the earthy tomatoes and beans. The peaches are conversing, sliced and salacious, plotting to throw themselves lustfully at the winter-weary soul who opens them having forgotten the extravagance of summer. The fruit room breathes in deeply and sighs with satisfaction, confident with its bottled life as I close the door and leave it to its darkness.

We will pull the plants that have drawn from the soil and take their carcasses to the shredding facility to become next year’s mulch and fertilizer. We will pack on leaves and let the snow fall and go inside to read books and create house things. Winter will come and everything will slow and stop. Waiting. Resting. Preparing.

Every season finds me ready. I never want the last to remain longer anymore. Spring, with all its excitement, it’s golden greens, can’t produce what summer can with the trying sun and less frequent showers. Fall is welcome when the work of summer has been sufficient. Winter brings relished death, something I never understood as a child who loved roses and swimming and throwing sticks for the dog to catch amidst the leaves. Death must come to bring new life – stronger, better, and deeper.

In the toil of the annual slog for our survival, I wondered (when my littles wove between my legs while I worked) what we gained with each new trip around the sun, so apparently like the last. Now the grape vines and the apple tree and the soil tell me. Deeper roots. Stronger vines. Better weathering of the heat and cold and bugs. The promise of sweeter, richer fruit. Every trimming and every new harvest, every digging about and soil amendment and rotation of plantings, all promise a new garden of gladness. It was worth it to weather.

My littles aren’t little, something I expected but never imagined. They know something of the garden from their trips around the sun and now there are seven garden spots instead of one. The oak and the crabapple and the maple smile as I walk by.

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