Sunday, November 14, 2010

Fall, I Hardly Knew Ye

I've been sorta busy. Trip to Iowa City, grading essays like crazy, reading dozens of books for a new, upperclass short story lit class I'm teaching in the spring. We had our first snow two nights ago, just a dusting, which followed 3 inches of rain (the last rain we had was about a tenth of an inch in late September, and I've been dragging hoses all over the last week trying to de-crack my clay soil).

Below are pictures because, well, I'm tired. I hate in when bloggers confess / apologize for not posting in some time, and here I am doing it. I guess I hate myself. If anything, my trip to Iowa for the NonfictioNow conference made me realize a few things: 1) I can write, I should write, no matter how it kills me I must sacrifice my body (which is a very real thing--I tend to write not like a marathon runner, but a sprinter) and 2) there are some really amazing writers I'll never hear of (but I did discover some!). That's heartening and even a little comforting, but only in a dark way. Not all that tasty root beer fizz rises to the top--some of it eventually pops and becomes syrupy liquid or vapor, vanishing into thin air. I guess what I'm saying is I could really go for some A&W, Barqs, or IBC to get me through the rest of the semester. In fact, Barqs always reminds me of a winter school camp trip in 4th grade where I first learned to snow shoe and cross country ski in Minnesota. It was cold up there near the BWCA. Strange how the cold can warm you up.

Last cosmos

(l-r) Bluestem, ninebark, spiraeas, buckthorn

Don't you love a full-textured dead garden?

Bald cypress = A+ color

Bald cypress cone

Golden smokebush color = A+++

Wild senna seeds

Last serviceberry leaves

Willow-leaved sunflower

Spring is only about 3 months away.... But does time really need to go any faster? Soak into me winter. Soak into me long, deep, and patiently. Dig in to me, and help me get my roots further out into the soil of my next book's research before the spring / summer of writing bursts forth. Make me ready. I am ready.

Hotel curtain at dusk in Iowa


Bonnie said...

Yes, I do love a full-textured fall garden - sort of. What I don't like is the reminder that snow is coming any day now. Is your spring really only 3 months away? Mine is 5 months away, if we're lucky. As I look out the dark window into the black night, I think it's time for bed. But alas, it's only 6pm.

D said...

I hadn't thought of Spring so soon; I'm still pondering how quickly the last 10 months have gone and yes, enjoying all the ornamental grasses in our garden.

PS: Benjamin, we ordered your book in August and are wondering if it has begun shipping?

Benjamin Vogt said...

Bonnie--zone 5, you betchya. Last February 26th or so we had bulbs coming up, and promptly on March 1 a switch flipped and it was warm and spring--the 1 foot of snow melted in days. It was surreal. It's only really bad here in December and January (unlike Minnesota, where I am from--that's 5 months at least).
Diana--The book was to be printed on 10/29 (august was presales period to determine press run). But printing went late, and it should ship by the end of them month. Thanks for supporting lil ole me!

mr_subjunctive said...

Well! See if I try getting in touch with you, then, next time I'm in Lincoln, NE!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Mr.S.--Oh that's right! How could I forget that? You live right in Iowa City? You wouldn't have wanted to see me--I was so cold my face froze over. Tell me, is there anywhere good to eat in IC besides 126? Feel free to skip me if you are ever in Lincoln, and spray paint my lawn with hate messages.

Unknown said...

You are a writer and a mighty fine gardener too. Looks great at the end of the season. Have not gotten your book yet. Should I have by now?

Benjamin Vogt said...

Michael--Whoa, careful there. My head might explode with too many compliments (but I can take a few more before that happens). I don't even have my book yet--it got delayed past 10/29, but it is printing this week, so should be shipping by the end of the month I'd imagine.

Eliza said...

I love that shredded cosmos photo... and a full-textured dead garden too. Spring can wait! I need all that time to daydream about next year.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Eliza--Agreed wholeheartedly! Spring will be here soon enough, even if that means some brutal walks to work in January.

themanicgardener said...

Sounds as if you've a right to feel tired, Benjamin. I always preferred terms to semesters; especially if you're a sprinter, the intense ten-week stint works better than the fifteen-week version. Now I'll look for a "buy my book" box in the side bar.

Christine B. said...

Living in the moment is often a challenge for me in the cold, dark winter. Too often I'm thinking of the next spring or a warm cup of hot chocolate.

Root beer is indispensible in winter and for some reason, must be served in an icy mug for full soul benefits.

Christine in Alaska, looking for root beer

Les said...

I prefer a full textured dormant or sleeping garden, one that has signs of life but may not be fully roused. The good news for me is that somthing is growing year round here, the bad news is that something is growing year round here.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Awright there Benjamin

I don't know if I quite get the textured dead garden thing. That's not an insult just an experience I'm missing. Maybe I'm suffering from the winter sadness. Ou est le lightbox?

Your post reminds me I should plant a cotinus next year.

I'm jealous you've had snow. If it's going to be winter then it may as well.

Greetings from dank, grey, zone 8.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Kate--I had quarters when doing a masters at Ohio State, and it always felt like we just started going and then BAM 10 weeks are over. Maybe 12-13 week terms?
Christine--Ah, root beer and hot chocolate in a snowstorm. Seriously, that ain't so bad of a moment.
Les--As my plants have matured, they leave more of their echo in the winter garden, and I love to see the birds fly in and out and give vovie and action to that echo in the cold winter days--reminders of what is coming, what was, what always is. You know?
Rob-- Ohhhhh... BOO FREAKING HOO. I live in France and it sucks in zone 8 with no snow. Wah wah wah. Cry me a Seine. Everyone, go to Rob's blog and complain. Sheesh. :)

scottweberpdx said...

Great post, I love it all...without winter, how would we really appreciate spring?