The first week of Fall
And it’s cool outside.
Not a foregone conclusion,
But a happy coincidence.
Does that sound dramatic?
For those who work and play outdoors,
Weather matters. For those who rely
On the land and sea for their living,
It matters even more.
I am somewhere in between.
For me, gardening is both work and play,
It's like writing -- 0ptional and not optional at all.
I can’t escape it.
That’s who I am.
When I look at our
Small dot of land,
I’m reminded that
I am a gardener.
And so yes, I rejoice.
I can garden all day
Without stress or duress,
Exulting in the gift God has given me.
That little bench, built by my husband as a gift to me, is possibly the most fragrant seat in the garden. I'm not sure which smells better -- the juniper or basil. But I don't have to choose.
And this gardener needed to sit down every now and again this past weekend. We've been busy, as usual, and then a tropical storm blew through. Southwest Houston wasn't hit hard, but our garden took a pounding. Between the storm, benign neglect, and the fact that it's an excellent time to sow the cool season garden, I just had to spend some time out there. The problem was that it's not quite cool yet. This weekend was very hot, especially in the afternoons.
By mid-afternoon Saturday, I gave up. What was funny was as I dragged myself through the back door, Joseph, who was busy with carpentry, came in through the garage. The weather was sweltering. I don't think he felt as bad as I did; he's more practical than me. I, on the other hand, felt defeated.
Sunday, I knew that if I was to accomplish anything much, I'd better do so in the morning. The temps jumped from the low 70s at 7 a.m. to almost 90˚ by 1 p.m. -- and the "feels like" would be around 99.
I had already decided on what chores to attack. As I began working, aware that I was at home and not church, I recalled a conversation I'd had with a woman at the garden center a few weeks ago. The actual temp that day was 98˚, never mind the heat index. She was, I believe, quite elderly. There were countless crinkles in her dark skin, her hair was pure white, and she walked bent with a cane. She also had the most beautiful, welcoming smile. We chatted over some plants, agreeing that gardeners are crazy, the two of us included. As we parted, she said, "I always dedicate my garden to Jesus. You should do the same. It will thrive."
I always strive to make my days worthy. I don't always succeed. But as I hurried around my garden, I prayed. I weeded and deadheaded, staked some plants flattened to the ground by the storm, cleared the vegetable beds, spread organic fertilizer, raked, and hauled bags of debris to the curb. We're still trying to figure out where we might squeeze in a small composter, but that's a discussion for another day. Anyway, it took hours. By noon, I was hot and hungry. Then the sun disappeared. I looked up to see dark clouds.
Rain wasn't in the forecast, was it? I checked on my phone. Nope, no rain. But it was time to go in. I just wanted to sow some seeds -- one bed, at least. I chose lettuce and radishes and got to work. I'd still had to water everything.
A drop, then another, then a few, so light and fresh... I began hurrying. I didn't want my seed packets to get wet, but I was determined to sow that one bed. By the time I finished, it was truly raining. I got soaked, but I was happy.
Once I had showered and dressed, the sun was shining again. The afternoon would be steamy. But the garden looked better, and everything was watered. I felt a sense of accomplishment and, more, a sense of peace.
It was a beautiful, restorative Sunday.
For years, my husband and I worked at creating a series of gardens on our four-acre lot in a rural, Texas subdivision west of Houston. I have to say, it was a fantastic experience. Now, I have a pocket garden on a golf course.