Monday, October 10, 2011

Guest Blogger- Maude Odgers

maudeIn her latest post, Maude says goodbye to summer and reminds us of all those things we'll miss and a few that we won't.


Ode to Summer

“ Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts. There is something infinitely healing in the repeated refrains of nature—the assurance that dawn comes after night, and spring after winter.”  Rachel Carson

As I walk around the garden I feel the days growing shorter, turning cooler and sifting into fall. I feel one foot lagging behind, wanting to stay in the warm days of summer. The other foot steps forward, feeling the crunch of fallen leaves and sensing the inevitable arrival of snow soon to follow. I am already mourning the disappearance of summer, there behind me, just out of reach.

I will miss its warmth, t-shirts, bare feet and ice-cold lemonade. I will miss the summer birdsong, frogs basking on lily pads--smooth and green, hummingbirds darting from flower to flower--rarely resting long enough for me to see. I will miss the scent and look of fresh-mowed grass, long days, summer air streaming through open windows, screen doors opening and closing, laundry drying in the sun, and the perfect line of garden bed meeting grass. 


I will miss having the barn door wide open, and my dog following me around the garden as I work--hiding from the sun beneath the red wheelbarrow. I will miss vases full of fresh-cut flowers, robins pulling worms from the earth, flowerpots spilling over with color and grace, the pink glow of dusk, and dinners on the patio beneath the stars. I will miss the mixture of colors and shapes in the garden, the hum of bees and the floating of butterflies. 

I will miss the smell of rain, peonies and roses. I will miss the lush green of garden and woods and the soft blue summer sky. I will miss dewdrops on leaves and flowers, just picked herbs, and peaches from the tree. I will miss the smell of dirt and the familiar feel of pruning shears in my hand. I will miss the joy of sitting back and looking at a day’s work done. 

I will not miss the endless hours of weeding, edging, and staking. I will not miss a sore and aching body, blisters and calluses on my hands and knees, and sunburned arms and neck. I will not miss black flies, mosquitoes, Japanese beetles, hornets and webworms. I will not miss day after day of deadheading, hurricanes and floods, hot and humid nights, and poison ivy not happily found. I will not miss the yards and yards of compost and mulch in my driveway and wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow filled and carried away. I will not miss the stinging nettle that I forgot was there from last year. I will not miss the voles and moles and creatures who have tunneled my gardens and lawn.

photo by C.D. Grondahl courtesy of
I will not miss the dirt under my fingernails, multiple cuts and bruises, the constant turning of the compost pile, or trying to catch the woodchuck who ate my hollyhocks and sweet peas. I will not miss cutting back plants, emptying flower pots, and carting them to the compost pile. I will not miss lugging all the empty pots back to the barn for storage. I will not miss hauling the many tender and heavy plants into the house and cellar for the winter, or draining and dragging all the hoses to the barn. I will not miss days of raking, and planting bulbs with frozen fingers and toes. 

photo by Joe Valentine
As I walk around the gardens and think of all the things I will miss and not miss I’m grateful for the warm luminous light of fall, the way the grass looks greener this time of year, the sweetness of fresh picked apples and warm mulled cider. And I’m grateful for the smell of wood smoke, the deep blue of the sky, the crisp days, and the chance to watch the leaves turn and gently dance to the ground once again. I know this ground will soon be covered with frost and snow. I know when that first snow falls I will be grateful for the rest and quiet of winter. I know the solitude of winter is the time to gather thoughts and seeds and dreams. I know it’s a time to imagine what could be, again.

All photos are by Maude Odgers unless otherwise noted.
To see other blog posts by Maude, click here.
To learn more about Maude, as well as other guest contributors to Notes from Juniper Hill,  click here.

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