Saturday, January 4, 2014

Endings and Beginnings

Never before have I experienced a changing-of-the-year that so emphatically has an embodied ending and beginning. As the old year closed, I gained a daughter-in-law, a beautiful start for the year! While we were in Texas for the wedding, though, my mother-in-law (a.k.a. "Grandma") had some serious health problems, and she has passed away. Her life on earth and the relationships she nurtured - in the form we know - with friends and family are at an end. The events and emotions involved are all complex and varied.

Endings can be extremely difficult. Luckily for me, the endings I usually deal with in the garden  -- the changing of seasons, the maturity and decline of a round of crops -- these all are much easier to accept. They come without fail; the loss is familiar, and looking toward the beginning of a new season brings a sense of excitement.

Right now in the yard, we are anticipating the onset of very cold weather. I barely remember the last time we experienced a drop below 8 degrees Fahrenheit -- schools were closed (because families here in Georgia don't invest in cold-weather gear that is needed only once in a decade), and I wasn't worried about the garden because I hadn't begun growing so many cool-weather crops in the fall.

I will be interested to see how the carrots fare in this unusual cold. The broccoli and cabbages that I didn't harvest before last week already have been turned to mush by a hard freeze. Someone asked me just a few weeks ago why some gardeners in the area were so set on putting protective coverings over their crops when our winters are generally fairly mild -- I think what's coming is why.

Part of the appeal of gardening is that there is always something new to look forward to, even when "what's new" is a bout of freakishly cold weather! For many gardeners, seed and plant catalogs are piling up, plans are being made to try new varieties or to try a new technique or method, and the anticipation of growing favorite varieties alongside the new ones builds an eagerness to begin as the next growing season approaches. I hope that the coming year brings the joy of new beginnings and happiness in productive gardening to us all!

My beautiful family. I'm a lucky mom!

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