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if anything I might be more of a nag, too intrusive, trying to dress up my garden child in clothes long outgrown and outdated.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.