I spent some time this week getting the yard in shape for winter. Last weekend I mowed the grass for the last time this season and raked leaves for the first time this season. Flower gardens were weeded, raked clean and mulched for the winter. Hummingbird feeders were brought in and cleaned for storage; thistle seed and sunflower seed feeders were brought out and made ready for goldfinches, sparrows, cardinals, titmice and towhees’ winter provisions. Flowering vines, now withered, were pulled off the lattice fence. There are still some trees in pots that need to be mulched and winterized before the temperatures drop below freezing. The land, even on a suburban lot, calls out the changing of the seasons. We who work the land must make things ready as we attempt to shape the horticultural life around us.
Sometimes when fall and winter arrive, we see things in the stillness that we missed during the lively summer. The oak tree in the backyard, for example, has dropped its leaves, revealing a squirrel’s nest and a bird’s nest that had eluded my notice when everything was green. I think I want to write a poem about “what was hidden in life.” I’ll have to sit with that idea for a while. In the past, I’ve written poems inspired by spring, summer, fall and winter – some of which I’ve put on my blog. Perhaps in the stillness of this dormant season, I’ll write about what was hidden in the life of spring and made known in the dead of winter.
At any rate, I like change of the seasons. The autumnal change is my favorite herald of things to come. I like the call to slow down and look inward. Firing up the furnace and bringing down coats and sweaters signals the turn in our efforts to find warmth within. The ever darkening nights that shorten our days cause us to treasure the light. When spring eventually arrives, I always resist at first. Perhaps it is my introverted nature that loves the inwardness of winter. Eventually, however, the season holds sway and I move outward to enjoy the days of spring. For now, I will enjoy the autumn air and look forward to the cool of winter.
I’ll spend the season doing a bit more reflecting. We are entering the Advent season so it is naturally a time to watch, prepare and wait.