and just like that, the soybeans are turning brown and i have to close the windows at night.
from stifling humidity, to cold, misty, mornings and dew-wet grass.
pretty much overnight.
autumn. do i dare believe that you're finally here?
this past summer kicked my ass.
and when it was done kicking my ass, it kicked me in the teeth.
exhaustion - of both the emotional and the physical variety - and extremes of temperature and dryness all pushed me to just about the closest i've ever come to losing my shit altogether.
i kid you not.
i was this close to packing it all in.
instead, i've decided to just pack some of it in.
among other things, i'm going to quit trying to grow stuff that doesn't want to grow.
the sad, dried-out husks of my failed [again!] vegetables have been a constant, gutting, reminder of how incredibly ill-equipped we are to grow our own vegetables on this patch. we have no means of watering beyond what we can haul from the pond [by hand] or from the rainbarrels.
and if it doesn't rain -- which it didn't -- well, both of those sources dry out, too.
add to that the ever-increasing canopy of trees -- well, sunlight becomes an issue.
what started out with such hope and optimism - this is the year! - rapidly shriveled [literally] into yet another exercise in the craptastical.
so, it's time to switch gears.
i've decided that instead of railing against the inevitabilities - how well does that ever work out, anyway? - i'm going to listen to what i'm being told.
[which has always been the point, anyway]
i'm going to take the path of least resistance, to the place where my heart is leading.
which sounds all very stepping-into-my-truth but actually feels a lot like failure.
because, over the past couple of years, i've had to let the 'homesteading' dream die a long, tortured, death.
which is really hard, because i'd thrown so much of myself into that ideal. there was so much expectation and so much assumption of success wrapped in it, that to let it all go, really does feel like complete and utter failure.
like maybe i should've tried harder, done things differently.
or maybe i'm just not dedicated enough.
which is possibly true.
but so what?
i'm tired of the self-flagellation that comes with trying to keep up with some externally-defined ideal.
i planted nine shrubs today - five more to add to my edible hedge, a couple of shrub-roses and two elders for down by the 'veg' patch.
and as i dug the holes and shoveled in the manure, i imagined what those shrubs would provide in the years to come -- with little or no interventions required.
and then, because i was down there, i went into the 'veg' patch to do some tidying and i found some rogue strawberries whose flowers had escaped my pinching fingers. they were just the sweetest, most delicious, strawberries i've had in a long while.
and then i found the tomatoes.
against all odds, there were five or six juicy little cherry tomatoes hiding amongst the borage.
the zucchini has big, yellow, flowers and the asparagus ferns had lovely red berry-like things that i've never noticed them to develop before.
a handful of calendula bloomed defiantly around the blackberry bushes, a splash of bright yellow against the fading greens.
proof of life; the land's whispered 'yes' to all that i've been pondering.
all i need is the desire to serve the land; the land, in return, will show me how.
the elders were the last thing i planted.
i decided i'd like three more to run along the fence line.
i decided a few rosa ragosa would do well to fill in the gaps and that a fruit-bearing mountain ash needs to tuck in alongside the yews.
because i don't need much encouragement, you see.
two strawberries and a handful of tomatoes are enough to show me that as long as i don't give up on the land, the land won't give up on me.
those are the moving statues that keep me listening, keep me watching, keep me scribbling.
it's just that simple.