Reflections on life — inspired by 10 simple words. Be real. Love always. Share beauty. Lead well. Learn more.
Seeking out and breathing in beauty helps reset my compass, find peace and reflection, and remind myself of the humility inherent in my humanity. When beauty strikes me — whether it’s in a garden, the back country, setting sun, or the human spirit — I’m moved to share the moments with others.
The march of the daffodils has begun. The length and warmth of days has slowly increased, enough to trigger the energy within the dormant bulbs to activate. I’ve lived long enough to not be surprised by the bright green tips emerging through winter’s brown, but each year I feel a joy as if I’ve never seen them before. An old friend, reincarnated, perhaps.
With less than two official weeks of winter left on the calendar, the daffodils’ arrival is the first sign of renewal. I haven’t yet added hellebore or witch hazel — the usual harbingers of winter’s end — in my new garden, so, for now, the trusty old daffodils will serve as our first inkling of spring.
Frigid. That’s the only way to describe the first few days of March. The thermometer was lower in January, but there’s been something about the recent cold snap that goes straight to the bones. The sun dodged in and out between flurried squalls but never brought the warmth we’ve all be craving. Next week, perhaps.
The last few months have been among the best of my life, both personally and professionally. I just described my life to a friend as “never having been more zen.” My inner circle has become more intimate and beautifully deep, taking center stage while the distractions of life have moved into the wings or disappeared altogether.
I found time to get some dirt and gravel under my tires at sunset tonight, a long overdue breath of country air. A sliver of sunset hung at the horizon as low scuttle clouds raced from the south. I secretly hoped for a spectacular underlighting that never came, but the skies didn’t disappoint. My short jaunt of skychasing on this unseasonably warm day was the perfect cabin fever cure.
As we enter November, fall color is deep and plentiful after a week of cool, wet weather. Whether the sky is overcast grey or brilliant blue, the reds, oranges, and yellows pop. The weight of the rain brought many leaves to the ground, creating a carpet around and over our gardens. Perennials may be on their way into dormancy, but they’re refusing to go without one last show of gold.
The news has been nauseating. It’s like we’ve opened Pandora’s box and released all our worst inclinations into the public square. I reminded myself of one part of the Pandora myth this morning — hope remained in the jar (box) after the evil was released into the world. Hope needs our help right now. We have to find the goodness, beauty, and progress that still abound in the world, shadowed by the specter of these unleashed demons. We have to help hope regain her rightful place at the front of our lives, our communities, and our nation. That means lifting up the good we find. That means respecting *all* of our neighbors. That means being active in civil life, exercising our obligation to vote for hope not division. And it means challenging Pandora’s minions when they cross our daily paths.
It’s interesting how those of us in four-season climates talk about the plants in our gardens — in terms of how long they’ll last. Annuals come and go in one growing season. Perennials come back every year, but mostly lie dormant below the ground in winter. Trees and shrubs — we think of them as the bones, the stalwart foundation, that last for years, perhaps a lifetime. We cherish them for their presence over time, rather than their value in the moment.
Frost took out the tender annuals this week, so it was time to do some cleanup. I walked through the garden, throwing the wilted carcasses of coleus, impatiens, and begonias into the wheelbarrow with the the voice of Monty Python’s cart master in my head.
Bring out your dead.
Bring out your dead.
I may have imagined one tougher than average coleus protest.
I’m not dead. I don’t want to go on the cart. I feel fine.
You’ll be soon dead in a moment.
Perhaps these thoughts are best left in my head, but I couldn’t resist sharing a little garden humor as the season comes to an end.