What do you do when life feels out of balance? You keep on doing what you always do, oddly. Thankfully, yesterday was a blue skied and sunny day, which I desperately needed in order to get through the grueling vote counting for the presidential election. I managed to spend almost the whole day outside with some walks, but mostly I worked in the yard. I kept busy mowing and raking leaves where they pool and closing out the garden.
While walking up the ridge in the morning sun, I thought about this season’s dearth in contrast to last year’s abundance. Last year was a mast year for oaks, and there were an incredible amount of acorns. This year, I have seen very, very few acorns. I’m guessing any of them have been eaten up by squirrels and the like. Last year, I had made the discovery of several hazelnut shrubs, and I harvested quite a few hazelnuts in the process. This year I might have seen one or two nuts. Likewise, I also noticed that the spicebushes, which were loaded with their red berries last year, have none this year. This year seems to be a barren year–is that a thing? Mast years are a fascinating subject worthy of more study, one of tree communication and phenology. It’s telling us a story that we can’t fully figure out yet.
However, in the garden, awash in warm afternoon sun, abundance continues despite the killing frosts. Though dead, the marigolds, holy basil, and dill were rich with flowers gone to seed. I spent a good hour standing in the sun and harvesting them, which to me felt like the best way to spend a day that seemed to lack in hope. For there is nothing quite so hopeful as saving seeds for the next year. The action itself is one of hope–it implies that there will be a new year, that there will be new flowers and new seeds, and that this cycle will go on. Look to nature for hope.
I hung the holy basil in the shed, and I left the marigolds in the garden on a large length of card board. The holy basil still smelled amazing, even though its leaves were wilted and brown. The marigolds did too–they are sturdy like small bushes and have an incredible amount of seed heads. There was no room for them in the shed, which already has beans hanging everywhere. I’ll leave half of them out for the birds and animals. I clipped the dried dill heads off the stalks, and, later on, when the sun had long gone down, inside the warmth of the house, I pulled the seeds from the umbels to fill a jar with. The smell was amazing–of dill pickles and rye bread–and it was a smell of hope and richness, a smell of another year.
The world I want to live in. Beautiful writing and great footage about amazing people doing amazing things.
“Everything has a meaning, if only we could read it.” A quote from Lyra’s Oxford by Philip Pullman. Have you read the His Dark Materials trilogy? I loved it– it’s great winter reading (if that’s your thing). This short book was a nice dip back into that world.
Something to watch: I don’t know why, but this story about minks getting Covid really grabs me. I first noticed it when US minks were getting Covid, but the story develops.
Walking – New walking book alert.