Thursday, October 21, 2010

Putting A Garden To Bed

Maple leaves at Brown County Indiana State Park

On the Brown County State Park drive.

Maple leaves at Brown County Indiana State Park.

The spirit of the Midwest is dearest in the autumn. Even those folks who aren’t of the soil take a moment to look up at the deep blue skies, smell the smoke from some log fire and take satisfaction in a summer well done.

For the gardener, it’s a time to pick the one last rose and to marvel at the bounty of the land we call home. It’s taking the time to watch a “willy worm” and explain to a child the mystery of that furry little creature.

Farmers and gardeners may use the time to walk fields and beds, taking stock of what went right or wrong. A faintest gathering of plans for next year begins as the wonder of another harvest has blessed us again.

It’s this very time of the year when we see men standing with one foot on the fence, a piece of grass in the teeth and a faraway look on their face.

It’s the time of the year when poets extol the colors of harvest and wax sad at the ending of summer. As local poet, Carl Sandburg, knew so well, “Corn wind in the fall, come off the black lands, come off the whisper of the silk hangers, the lap of the flat spear leaves.”

Fall is the oil and watercolors of artists painting the golden fields of corn, the orange and red of turning leaves, and the purples of asters.

At night we may gaze at the deep blue sky and marvel that there must be more stars in the harvest skies than any other time of the year.

With a porch swing or a garden seat, it’s the time to take a cup of hot cider, an old quilt, and sit and contemplate. Contemplating is an old art whose time comes again in the fall of the year.

Autumn allows us to stop the responsibility of seeding, tending, and gathering and simply enjoy. It’s a brief rest between the work and enjoyments of summer and the efforts needed to keep us warm, provided and safe in the winter.

The summer tasks of preserving our garden bounties have almost come to an end. And although transportation and stores have made “laying in winter supplies” much a thing of the past, many of us still have the internal call to get all things ready.

Those that garden, farm, preserve food, hunt, and butcher understand the satisfaction we have at the end of the growing season knowing all is well.

For most of us, it’s being able to winterize our lawn mowers and tools, put them away, and know we will have months without those chores. No more weeds to pull, no more watering the pots, no trimming and picking. Putting summer to bed and knowing the seeds will lay cozy until spring when all awakens new again. God, in his wisdom, has given us autumn as a place to rest and enjoy. And if you can do it with a piece of fresh warm apple pie – well, so much the better!

(Photos are from the first part of our two week vacation.  Brown County Indiana is always beautiful this time of the year and famous for the fall foliage.  In addition to the drive through, we hiked the lake area and made many stops.  Simple and beautiful Midwest entertainment.  Visit: or text browncounty to 39649 )  

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