Race to the Start

It's a race against the clock. Days are getting shorter, nights are getting colder, and the down comforter has replaced the light summer blanket on the bed. We walk around the house in slippers and flannel.

Winter is coming.

The garden--right before I ripped everything out
You can see it in the garden. Out came the sunflowers and cucumbers to make way for the garlic, getting ready to sleep through the winter under their blankets of mulch.

The tomatoes and peppers are gone too, movedinto the shed to ripen away from the cold fall air. Slowly creeping into their places are kale seedlings and scallions. The green beans hang on, continuing to produce some beans now and then, but their leaves, too, are turning back to the earth.

The potted plants have made their way inside, to huddle together by bright windows or under grow lamps.

Sooner than I like to think, everything will be covered by a blanket of snow, not to be seen again until March or April. At least that's the way it seemed last year, as I struggled through month after month of bitter cold.

I try to look on the bright side. I had a garden this year. When we moved in, I had to leave my garlic at the old apartment. It just wasn't ready to harvest. And it was past time to be planting tomatoes and peppers. I bought starts and hoped for the best. The tomatoes did take a while to ripen, with the best ones not ripening until just before the frost. The peppers, too, waited until the very end to really get going. And the pole beans, which I started from seed, waited until well after everyone else's beans before they started setting fruit. But I had a garden. I had so many cucumbers, there wasn't room for anything else in the fridge. I had fresh herbs whenever I wanted them. And a constant stream of zinnias made their way to a mason jar on the windowsill. I had a garden.

I still have a garden, of course, but it's a little different now. It's like an iceberg, mostly below the surface, with only little bits of it poking up. I'll have to wait until next spring and summer to experience its full abundance again. In a way, I'm okay with that. You need the lean periods to fully appreciate the abundant ones. But I'm sad, too. Just seeing so much life outside my window gives me an instant shot of happiness, and I know I won't have that when everything's covered by snow. So I'm racing to harvest it all, enjoy it all, take it all in and savor it. Because winter is coming.

This post is part of Grow Write Guild Prompt #13.

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