A time of gathering in and taking stock

The mornings are quiet now that most of the birds have flown. Actually this process has been happening ever since early August. Even though the crickets and night peepers still hold their nightly serenade, I miss the birds’ way of singing the morning sun into the sky. On the other hand, the garden continues to be a wonder of the world. Every seed that hit the ground, including a few weeds, grew in this summer of the big rains. Mind you, with lots of mulching, the weeds pull pretty easily; but I still miss my birds.

Although Jamie, Molly and I still walk back to the pond at sunrise each day, our walks are mostly quiet ones. Stillness has replaced the frenzy of nesting and singing and flying and catching insects. I guess if the birds never left in the fall, we’d lose the anticipation of watching for their return in the spring. Even in the garden, as sections finish I prepare them for next spring. A garden always has two sides to it, the present filled with growth and harvest, and next spring, filled with fresh beginnings and hope renewed. After all, last year’s dust bowl turned into this year’s cornucopia.

Last week a group from the community gardens family went up to Woodview to share one another’s dreams of seasons yet to come. Our method of layering soil, compost and straw on top of the ground suits their geography very well. Woodview is a lovely little community north of Burleigh Falls, built on table rock. Although they have very little top soil, their flat rock surface makes a perfect base for building the layers. Certainly with all of the concern about food security, the movement towards growing our own safe local food has been gaining momentum everywhere. One of the great perks of being involved in community gardens is that I get to see how different communities want to tailor the infinite possibilities to their own needs. And everywhere I go, I encounter people who have felt the joy that comes from coaxing life out of the earth.

Fall is a time of gathering in and taking stock. It is perfect for long runs or bike rides in the cool autumn air. The frenzy of growth has ended. Some ripening is still to come but much of the harvest is already taking place. Soon we’ll start collecting seeds for next year. Well, the sun is setting and the chirping has begun in earnest again. Before long the mosquitoes will drive me inside for another night so I will close off. The community gardens group will meet again in the Fleming College gardens at 4 PM on Wednesday, Sept. 17. If you would like to participate or just check us out, you are welcome to join the party. See you next time.

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