Saturday, October 18, 2014

Second Summer

After a week of rain, and relatively-warm October temps, I walked out into my garden this morning to see a sudden surge of growth had occurred, a late flowering, a last gasp. We are just weeks away from the first autumn frost, and yet in a few days the mint has sprouted up new green tips. The lamium, after our seasonal August-September drought (when I water only what is necessary), is once again lush and vibrantly green. The nasturtiums, which languished and seemed to merely exist through September, have sent out several 2-to-3 foot runners, as if to say, I can still do it! Watch me! (Perhaps they need their own facebook page.)

I've yet to do any fall garden clean-up. This fleeting resurgence is as beautiful as the decline, though: a late shoofly flower as lovely as a skeletonized leaf, one last lingering ruby rosebud in November as spectacular as an apple gone to worms. The remaking of all life, the blossoming, the fruiting and going-to-seed, the decline, where we nurture youth and make room for the new. Endlessly repeated, measured in numbers of years for which there is no number, going back before there was a single soul to charcoal a slash mark on a cave wall. Before there was a cave wall.

Not quite time yet to fire up the furnace, or set a pot of soup simmering on the stovetop. But already I'm thinking of the warmth of autumn spices: cinnamon, clove, nutmeg. There's a small sugar pumpkin on my kitchen table. Might just be time for pie.
Virgin of Guadalupe disappearing in a flush of late-season lamium

the ongoing decomposition of James Fenimore Cooper


  1. as always, your writing is exquisite. it is amazing how plants respond to water -- they know how to use it for all it is worth. fall cleanup work is hard to get to, but always so satisfying when completed. We did it for the last couple of weeks, and I made a sugar pumpkin soup, even though the temps didn't dip below 68 in the day time. I couldn't wait.

    1. Good for you Tara — getting on that fall clean-up! Mine generally gets done round about April, if I'm lucky. Good thing my back yard is fenced and outta sight!

  2. Oh, I love that Virgin of Guadelupe covered in green!

  3. me,too..elizabeth stole my thoughts! it's raining like crazy here...all the leaves are turning into a soggy mess of instant compost. cheers to you, T.; a lovely post.

    btw, i have started a new blog. you are always welcome. do drop in:

  4. James Fenimore Cooper seems to have morphed into another creature entirely. It is a world of green wonder, is it not? xo