The Change of Seasons

Changing colors in the fall garden

Changing colors in the fall garden

Ann checking temperature of newly made compost

Ann checking temperature of newly made compost

I am especially thinking of my dad this fall. He was an avid gardener and once cooler weather began to arrive he taught me to be meticulous about getting plants cut back and prepared for winter.

Yesterday I worked with friends in our community garden to cut back plants, move manure from a local horse farm to compost our garden waste, and generally admire the changing colors.

When I called Dad in the memory care unit this morning, I shared with him a description of what I had done in the garden and thanked him for all he had taught me about gardening. “That’s nice,” he said.

My sisters and I are working to share strong images of his good life with him as he nears the end of his days. At 87 years he is frail and failing. None of us knows when he will die anymore than we can predict when the first frost will come.

What we do know, though, is that this difficult post stroke phase of his life will end. And like all good gardeners everywhere we know that there is a next, beautiful phase to his life . . . for nature teaches us that life continually transforms itself.

Brussels sprouts ready to harvest

Brussels sprouts ready to harvest

7 replies
  1. Amanda
    Amanda says:

    What a beautiful reminder of the wisdom the earth holds for us… although it doesn’t necessarily make it easy to be part of the ongoing changing phases and circles of life. A sense of the importance of this time for you personally… how you are holding it with courage, with spirit, with being in the not-knowing.

    I drew The Tree card this morning from the Gaian deck – and now here I am reading this post – you are an inspiration for being in surrender, suspension, letting go and perspective. Thank you for sharing this part of you and your family’s journey.

    Love to you,

  2. linetteontour
    linetteontour says:

    It is one of the joys of gardening that I get drawn into the cyclical rhythmn of the seasons and life and death. The inexorability offers me some comfort.
    I am moved to tears by you and your sister’s efforts to focus on good strong images and positive stories. Such kindness.

  3. Sue Evans
    Sue Evans says:

    Ann, you put this so beautifully. I too am facing the passing of my parents. They are 94 and 95 and we just moved them into assisted living as my dad is very frail and my mom was recently diagnosed with colon cancer. They will celebrate their 72nd anniversary in early December….what a gift for us all. They both have had a wonderful life and as fall reminds us of nature slowing down and resting we can look ahead knowing spring will be on the way in the not too distant future. Thank you for your thoughts and reminder.

  4. Diane Tilstra
    Diane Tilstra says:

    I miss my garden living on my 3rd floor perch. I have a small deck so my pots are full of herbs and bee loving perennials. I found a container raspberry hybrid that provided two of the most delicious berries this summer. Thanks for the loving story about your Dad. His loving legacy will live on with you.


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