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Seasons change and so does a bunch of other stuff


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A fresh new school year has arrived and at our house we are all about new pencils, filling out school forms and a return to music lessons. So long, holidays. Adios, warm evenings on the patio. Goodbye fresh basil and tomatoes off the vine.

Well, perhaps that is a little dramatic. In fact, there are still a few more tomatoes to be had, and it will be a few weeks yet before my pot of basil has to content with the first whisper of frost. And yet, the signs of changing seasons are just about everywhere. Trees here and there are giving the first few hints of colour. Potted mums are being sold at grocery stores. The kids are talking about what they want to be for Halloween.

Our family has just come through a major change, too. We are in the same neighbourhood, but have a new address. We packed and lugged and unpacked our entire lives (OK, we haven’t quite finished the unpacking part) during the summer and have landed in a new-to-us home that has all kinds of room for the family. It also has the ugliest backyard you have ever seen in your life.

Yes, as you can see by the pictures, my gardening life has changed. Gone is the large yard full of sunshine. Gone is the vegetable patch and collection of garden boxes on the front lawn. Gone are the huge forsythia that bloom brilliant yellow every spring, the purple iris I inherited from my mother, the shady spot where I could sit and visit with Jack-in-the-pulpit. Ten years of hard work, soil amendments, disasters and triumphs are now in the hands of another.

I had my final visit with my garden on a sunny Sunday morning in July. I wept, said goodbye, and lamented that sometimes wonder

ful changes bring sadness, too. I suffer pangs of grief at strange and unexpected times. A friend says, “Let’s have lunch at your place. The weather is beautiful!” and I realize I have no pretty place for us to sit outside. I plan to have chicken grilled with herbs just the way I like them, and then I realize that I can no longer nip out to the yard to gather thyme, sage and oregano.

Despite my own sorrow, all is not lost. Good friends A. and M. are experienced movers, and gardeners, too. Despite my protests that they didn’t need to go to so much trouble for me, they came to the old house with shovels and pots. They dug snippets of just about everything in the yard (except the trees and shrubs, of course) and lugged them back to their house. They have created a little waiting garden–a spot where my plants can live until I can offer them a permanent home again. Bless them.

And as every gardener knows, the fall and winter seasons are for dreaming. When the trees lose their leaves and the ground is frozen, we all look out into our yard and begin planning for next year. So even as I lament the loss of my lovely back yard garden, there is still hope. I just have to wait for the seasons to change again.

About the author

Kristine O'Brien is minister at Trafalgar, Oakville, Ont. She blogs at The Blooming Reverend.

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