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The transitions of the seasons in my garden are the allegory of my life right now. I have a love-hate relationship with gardening that mirrors the love-hate relationship I have with my body as it ages and it gets harder to have it be what I want it to be. Sometimes my garden mocks me with all the dreams and plans I find so difficult to implement these last few years. But sometimes it comforts me with memories or small pleasures …just like the rest of my middle aged life.
I knew this day was coming, but I am still hopeful if I just concentrate on the gardening or take things a bit slower I may still accomplish the fine garden -well-weeded- that my memory and minds eye illumines before my dazzled imagination. It could still happen I tell myself…. and I am not far wrong, I believe, but the proof is in the reality of the garden. I have this winter to dream and prepare. My hopes reside in the springtime, and the belief that I will this year get a jump on the wily weeds, dig up the flowerbeds, save old plants, and start new ones. I love the pace of the garden and I have really missed it these past few years. It is more in line with my temperament to move with the seasons, to quietly weed, and pat down the soft earth, looking up at the gifts of the moment: a butterfly flitting on a flower, the sun shining just such a way through clouds, a ray of warm sunshine gladdening my heart as it rests on my face. Then I don’t mind the sweat and tired muscles of the preparation digging; of the metronomic counting-out of bending over, digging, and throwing in a pile the many weeds that have marched into my garden beds while I seemed unawares.
I miss the times of having nothing better to do after a good session of gardening than to sit in the garden chair with a glass of cold lemonade and be glad in the fruit of my labors: the restful view of a well-gardened place.
The rush and urgent demands of modern life don’t agree with me. What’s more, they don’t satisfy me in the accomplishment of them. Not like the garden. I am a gardener, and the garden is the place I belong. I have roots that have grown into its soil. Soul roots, that learn from its wise lessons, that attune me better to the voice of God in the many things He has set within its boundaries…lessons of life and death and renewal. I miss listening to those rhythms, and being exercised in its demands.
But I am older now, and some of my high flying aspirations need to come down and be rooted in my earth. The quietness of the season gives me time to breathe, to regroup my thoughts and plans, and build my hope for what the next season brings me.