We returned home from New York in the dark Sunday night, so I couldn’t see my yard. From the streetlight I could tell that my fruit trees still had leaves, but that was all I knew. Monday morning I started my grocery shopping list, so I took a tour of the back yard to see what food I could gather there. Only the hardy kale volunteered, though some cold-weather lettuces are getting close to ready. The strawberry plants are full and lush, though few berries remain. The zucchini has finished its run, and a single delicata squash provided a feast for a slug because we weren’t here to harvest it first. My first attempt at growing pumpkins was a failure. I make a note to take some soil samples to see if I can learn why. The rest is mostly cover crop, planted to nourish the soil and prevent erosion in the coming winter months.
Our massive fig tree went from a full crop of leaves to nothing in the two weeks we were gone, and the strong autumn maritime winds make it seem to shiver in its nakedness.
I find myself feeling startled. When I left, autumn was teasing us, but now she has taken over. I guess spending 18 days away will do that.
Inside, I shift gears to indoor projects. I have surrounded myself with stacks of manuscripts that need my attention. On the floor to my right is a pile of books about writing and permaculture. My iPad is stacked with novels waiting for me to explore them. In front of me are knitted pieces of a future bedspread, and I’m digging through the house in search of a cutting mat for a quilt kit that has gathered dust for too long. I hand hubby a pile of papers that need to be sorted through and scanned. You know there’s too much clutter when the stack of paper covers up a big chocolate bar!
After 30 years of living in Houston, where the seasons were hot, hotter, and a few days of bitter cold where the leaves just fell off all at once without changing color, I still feel a sense of wonder about being in a place where each season has its distinct flavor. I settle in. I plan my projects. I grab a comforter and a cup of tea.