Saturday, April 20, 2024
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Diana’s Quiz – April 20, 2024

by Diana Filer 1.  When did Nobel Prizes...

EARTHFEST, April 20 in Carleton Place

Second Annual EARTHFEST, April 20 in Carleton...

An Almonte baby boom

Springtime is often busy in the Almonte...
Reflections from the SwampFall Morning Routines      

Fall Morning Routines      

Reflections from the Swamp
Richard van Duyvendyk

A new, glorious day awaits the dawn, and the sun is starting to sleep in. It’s too early for the first-morning news. This day will begin without knowing of faraway wars, floods and fires. The kettle boils, and the water pours into the French press, coaxing the essence of Indonesian coffee beans to perfume the air. The cup overflows with added cream just as the day overruns the night. Each swirling sip speaks to the soul.

The soul says,” Let the bitterness of coffee and life sink like a stone. This day will start with joy and silence. The coffee travels in its earthen vessel past the arch of Morning Glories at the gate and into the garden.

Compared to the cornfield or swamp, as the cattails and corn change from green to gold, the garden is a coral reef bursting with diverse living plants entering their autumn years. A tiny magical bird hovers before a flower and then suddenly disappears into the mists of dawn. Indeed, this bird embodies the miracle of life.

Sitting at a table in the middle of the garden, the withered heads of sunflowers greet me. They stand tall, full of hope for the future, each flower a nursery of seeds incubating next year’s generation. The chickadees and bluejays are pecking away at their fading crowns, but some seeds will survive to see the spring. The clear, diminishing light of the sun floods the trees with colour. Soon, the garden will transform into a landing strip welcoming the cascading leaves to their final resting place. It will return them to the earth and transform them into the soil, nourishing next year’s garden. This leaf parachuting, accompanied by the sounds of geese flying in their “V’s” above, is choreographed differently each year, yet the music is always familiar.

In the fall, most of life must seek refuge in the earth or wrinkle and die. The crows, oblivious to the coming cold, will cast their black shadows on the white snow while most birds flee the cold. The crows are my constant companions. Most of us will hide in our dens, under the bark or snow, or deep down in the earth.

I can forgive the cold winds that carry the geese south, blow the leaves from the branches to the ground, freeze the lingering tomatoes and peppers and spare the kale for another day. We gather the last flowers, the Brussels sprouts, the hidden potatoes, and the brave carrots hiding in their underground trenches.

We plant and cover the garlic with a blanket of leaves to keep them safe over the winter. We pull the shrivelled tomato and potato vines as the sky rains down the yellow leaves of the poplars and maples onto the garden and the weeds pretending to be grass on the lawn.

The fall may be harsh, but it is consistent and dependable. The leaves all fall, and the plants and animals prepare themselves for the winter yet to come.

Those of us in our autumn years reflect on the harvest of our lives and feel the gratitude that comes with age. There are fewer and fewer precious things we carry into the winter of our lives. Most of those things we can hold in our hearts.

What thoughts come to mind while sitting in the early morning garden? For some of us, there is a yearning for the undefinable experience of the sacred. When we find a place to feel connected to nature and set aside the concerns of daily living, we can experience the connection to everything else in the natural world. We are a part of nature and spend much of our lives distracted. To enhance trust in a world often in crisis, we seek to find that inner self that can touch the divine. Sitting alone in a garden, quietly soaking in the life forces around us, is one way to experience our connectedness to the universe. Staring silently at the sky on a starry night is another. There are as many ways to connect with the sacred as there are stars in the sky.

The coffee in the garden is getting cold. Soon, I will return to the house, start a fire in the woodstove and feel the warmth of knowing that we are still together, prepared for winter. The hoe and rake return to the shed while the pen, books, and watercolours emerge from the cupboards. Winter has its creative moments. The silence of winter evokes a more profound listening to the voices within. For in our everchanging life, everything has a season.





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