Wednesday, November 30, 2011

I'm Ready

Something shifted in me. I know it is not the cornucopia of holiday ads, or the now TWO all-Christmas-music radio stations in town. It is not that the shopping is done. No. It is that there's not one more excuse to go out in to the garden. I've done everything. I prolonged it as long as I could.

I didn't put away all the pots in one day. I didn't pull up all the plant support stakes in ten minutes. I didn't roll up the hoses or better secure staked plants for winter winds in an afternoon. I didn't even mulch in less than a week. Today it will be 54, and the next three days 30s, then 20s, and maybe snow.

But the biggest problem is that my garden is in college--that's the age I think of it as, maybe high school. It can cook and clean for itself, it does things I don't know about, it likely talks behind my back, it parties and gets drunk and french kisses dates. In another year or two I could be an empty nester. How time flies.

In just four years I've made an ecosystem, a self-sustaining individual. There is less and less I have to do in the garden each month. Few weeds, minimal staking, minimal plant moving and even dividing. I putz because I want to, but if anything I might be more of a nag, too intrusive, trying to dress up my garden child in clothes long outgrown and outdated. I have to let the garden go.

I only ask for a good winter. A hard winter. Lots of snow, which my garden captures and holds exceedingly well. Give me the full season, make me hunger hard for spring, the distance between us closing as the days grow longer in January even as the ice holds us down, still, patient and impatient at once like a coiled spring. There is nothing I want more to do each day than look out of my window at the beautiful dead stems piercing the sky, echoes of the future, and know how loved we are when we surround ourselves with the life on this planet.

11 comments:

Heather@RestoringTheLandscape.com said...

Can't agree more, a good winter please. So dry here I'm a little concerned for some of the trees.

Corner Gardener Sue said...

I like the things you said about your garden, but I'm not totally in agreement with you about winter. I want it to be over with in a few weeks.

Benjamin Vogt said...

H--My folks said it's the driest fall up there in 140 years. I imagine winter kill could be brutal.
S--Need the seasons. Need the rest. Need the absence so the presence, when it comes back, fills the soul that much more. (Plus, for me, winter means writing, no garden distractions.)

Shirley Bovshow "EdenMaker" said...

So eloquently stated.
Shirley Bovshow

James Golden said...

You struck a chord. I too think of my garden as a separate entity, with its own very different life. Right now, maybe even like a child I don't particularly like. Let it run wild, or do whatever gardens do, in the winter. Maybe just be lazy and sleep. I'm tired of thinking I need (have) to take care of it.

Benjamin Vogt said...

S--thanks for popping in! If I could my books published you'd see even more eloquent writing. Maybe not.
J--Yeah, you know this summer I had a moment like yours at some point, where I just said whatever, I'm tired, let the garden be, I just want to look at it. I think that's fine. I get the impression, that like me, you go all in with a blitz and get worn out and need time to recuperate creatively. Maybe I'm wrong.

UrsulaV said...

I know how you feel. I managed to finish a couple of beds, dig a bit on the patio, putz around for a few weeks...but now it's stopped being a warm fall and decided to start freezing at night, and I think I may be done until spring.

Mine isn't nearly so self-sufficient and has a crippling chickweed problem, but it can still take care of itself until February.

Donna@Gardens Eye View said...

I was just contemplating the same thing...will we have our average 104 inches of snow and cold or will my garden suffer the constant freeze and thaw it will not like at all...wonderful post!!

Benjamin Vogt said...

U--February? Yer a month ahead of me. Crocus leaves start coming up about March 1, bloom 3 weeks later.
D--104"! Holy cattle drive! The worst thing about Nebraska can be the sometimes violent frost heaving--12" of snow followed by 40s followed by -20. Whatever.

Jeff said...

Hi Benjamin! Noticed my comment did not make it to print. Just so you know, no harm or sarcasm was intended. The "Me write pretty..." part was a play on the book by David Sedaris "Me Talk Pretty Someday". I really do enjoy your work. My wife is currently reading one of your books:)

Benjamin Vogt said...

Jeff--Hey, I got the Sedaris ref, give me SOME credit. Hope your wife likes one of my books.... :)