Friday, October 19, 2012

In trying times, try gardening for a change

I was miffed to discover recently that most of my Chapel Hill News Articles (listed on the right side of my blog page)  have been sent to the archives and can no longer be read by clicking on the link there.  Reading through them in my files, I think these are pretty good pieces and I want people to be able to link to them, as an example of my published work. I do aspire to actually publish more work sometime in this life!

So, I decided I would "reprint" a few of the favorites here and I think this one written in October of 2008 seems fairly appropriate with the election coming up.  See what you think.

Originally published in The Chapel Hill News October 22, 2008:

October is the month when my partner David and I begin to chip away at the list of annual fall tasks that include cleaning out the stove pipes and gutters, cutting firewood, cleaning up the gardens and laying a fresh layer of mulch around the perennials.  It gives us a break from the incessant discussions about the election and the failing economy.

Motivation for chores can be hard when the days are filled with brilliant color from changing leaves against clear blue skies. We want to take a break from the hard work of the summer garden and enjoy the autumn.  I want to escape from digging shrub holes and walk down to the creek to watch the falling leaves swirl down out of the trees and drift lazily along the surface of the water. 

We’ve wiled away some recent afternoons roaming around our place, discussing plans for the landscape.  Where to build stone walls, make new pathways, or plant additional trees and shrubs.  Living in the country with land around us offers an endless opportunity for expansion. It’s a bit like a balloon note on a sub-prime mortgage, for every hour spent planning; there will be 100 hours of doing required.  The longer we live here, the more grandiose the schemes become, the older we get, the slower the projects are completed, but instead of worrying about our bank accounts or the latest smear campaign, we ponder which bulbs to order and where to plant them.
I want to turn off NPR and enjoy the flower garden which has entered another phase of bloom worthy of long contemplation.  Pink, salmon and purple mums and blue asters billow out of the beds, punctuated by the bright oranges, reds and yellows of late zinnias putting on one last show. 

As the days grow shorter, and the election closer, our desire for comfort foods increases.  Unable to completely let go and eager for the latest in the ongoing political and financial battles, we listen to the radio while eating suppers of tender homegrown salads made festive with beets and carrots, sharp with radishes and nasturtiums.   The cool weather allows us to turn on the oven and bake; the scent of crusty loaves of bread, homemade veggie pizzas, and apple-oatmeal muffins wafts from our kitchen.

As November approaches; the sun moves lower, shadows grow longer and the stock market continues its roller coaster ride.  A delicate balance has to be achieved between enjoying the gorgeous days, getting necessary work done before winter, and not letting politics take over every conversation.  Maintaining our place is an effort, but if everything goes awry, at least we’ll have vegetables to eat, a beautiful garden to relax in and endless chores to help take our minds off the financial problems.  

Hope you enjoyed this one, it seems not much has really changed.  Look for others as we roll along, I'll try to add them as seems timely.

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