Sunday, October 7, 2007

Growing where I'm planted

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.
Robert Finch

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.


  1. Oh yes, I can identify with this thought! " I need the fall and the winter like I need air to breathe and water to drink." Well said Nan! I think you are so lucky to live like you do with space around you. Enjoy that blessing.

    Once again, I was going to use this quote on my blog. I will use another to try to surprise you. LOL! We must be plugged into the same wavelength.

    I hope you had a wonderful weekend.

    ~~ Heidi ~~

  2. "I live where I'm supposed to." How insightful and true! I think too many people these days move often, re-locate, without a thought, with no sense of their true place in the world. And perhaps, for some, place is not a physical location but rather a mental sensibility. For me, I belong among the tall green firs and swift mountain rivers of the Pacific Northwest. It is my home.

  3. I can completely understand your appreciation for a semi-short season. There's a finality to it! In a way I'm glad that we have a long growing season, but oh my gosh, there's always so much to do, and I get so bored with what I have and "waiting for this or that to be done so I can plant something else there."

    One thing I've learned this year is I lack "seasonal garden patience."

  4. I feel the same way Nan, I long for the summer to end, the damp heat clogs everything up - autumn ( fall) comes with its mellow light and cooler days, I love the closing in of night. I am where I should be also - my islands in the southern end of the Pacific ocean.

  5. I've been reading your Letters for a while now, and I always find something to ponder ...

    I do NOT live where I belong. I've been in southern California for almost 25 years now, but it has never become home. I grew up in the Chicago area, and those seasons just don't happen here. Maybe someday everything in my life will get aligned and I'll be able to relocate. I've often said to my husband "I'm in the wrong life."


  6. I loved reading about your situations. That is so funny about the quote, Heidi. It must be because we feel so much the same way about these things. I think I could live in Holland pretty easily. I've visited only once but it was wonderful.
    Patrice, your thought is so interesting. I wonder if the focus becomes the inside of one's house if the outside changes often. Some people do thrive on that change- that exploration of new surroundings. I think I'd like all that mist and fog of your area, if that is really how it is. I think I did read recently that it isn't as rainy as people think. :<)
    Katie, I knew someone in California who couldn't take all the sunshine because she never felt she could come indoors. If the weather was nice, she thought she had to be out doing things. I think that might be me in a way. I like being inside so I need the fall and winter to give me permission to do that. :<) I like your phrase about patience.
    Ngaio, I am quite sure I could live happily where you are. I look forward to learning more about it as I visit your blog through all the seasons.
    Jeanne, thanks for your nice words. I love it that I offer something someone might "ponder." I'll be over to visit your blog. I had a friend growing up who just wasn't meant to be here. She and I were talking about it the other day, about all the posters in her room of warmer climes. And she is now happily living out west. I hope you will be able to live where you feel you belong someday.

  7. What a beautiful post, Nan! I know what you mean about being consumed by the garden. During the summer my days revolve around what needs to be done in the garden, what's blooming, what's not, should I water?, and so on ... By Autumn, I'm spent and ready to come back inside. Isn't it wonderful though that we have these seaons? ~ Lynda ♥

  8. Ah, maybe I need to move to New Hampshire! Our growing season is too long for my taste. While I enjoy a pretty yard with lots of colorful flowers, I've gotten to the point where I'd rather be inside reading, cooking, fiddling with all the pictures I've taken, walking in the park, kayaking, etc. I did the bare minimum this year, as far as the yard goes. We were gone for 3 weeks total, plus a weekend here and there, so I'm afraid I really neglected my plants. So many are quite hardy, I doubt they even noticed my absence, especially with all the rain we got this summer. We're still getting lots. It poured again last night.

  9. I do know what you mean - at some point at the end of the summer, I'm tired of watering, weeding and picking. I sort of just let it go. Some years I've had prizewinning zucchini out there just due to my laziness. And I'm ready for cooler weather. I was *so* whiney this weekend with our record high temperatures, it was humid, ugh - when is the cooler weather returning I asked. Ahh - it's back.


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