Maybe I've been spending too much time with my dead, but alive to me, gardening pals, Henry Mitchell and Charles Dudley Warner, but I feel a bit of philosophical thought coming on. Today we "put the garden to bed." We cleaned it up and pulled out what was left of the vegetables, added manure and tilled it in. I love the fresh look of the vegetable garden all tilled and tidy, quietly awaiting the coming of spring.
I've been thinking a lot lately about how, if we are lucky, we live where we belong. I belong here. I like the gardening season, though many think it too short. My "summer" is bracketed by Memorial Day and Labor Day. By Labor Day, I'm done. I'm tired of all that lushness and I'm ready for order and a long view when the leaves come off the trees. I love this time with all its color, but I'm just as happy when the riot is over and November is here.
But now in September the garden has cooled, and with it my possessiveness. The sun warms my back instead of beating on my head... The harvest has dwindled, and I have grown apart from the intense midsummer relationship that brought it on.
This summer I was all consumed. It seemed like I thought of very little except flowers. I would go out and just stare at all the beauty. I would pick those daylily bouquets with the tenderest care. I mourned the flowers that didn't do well. I was sad that I didn't have more peas. I wondered (yet again) why my zucchini didn't grow. I planned to start seeds for next year, especially cosmos and cleome, to fill in spaces in the gardens. I lived and breathed gardening. I didn't want it to end, but when it did, I breathed a big sigh of relief, and said, "whew, that's over."
And this is what I mean. I live where I'm supposed to. I just couldn't take any more summer. I need the fall and the winter like I need air to breathe and water to drink. Others like a shorter, maybe milder winter and longer growing season, and that means they are where they should be. And that is good.