That was then, this is now
It’s February 6th, and it’s 72 degrees outside. Puffy white clouds are racing across a blue sky. It’s hard to believe this is winter.
Earlier today I stood at my back door and looked out onto my deck, still covered in pots from last year’s container gardening exploits. In northern climes it’s much easier to tell when the growing season is over and winter has arrived. Here, not so much. I just harvested the last of my jalapeños a month ago in early January. The chives and rosemary are still green. Everything else, however, has turned to crunchy leafless stems of dried brown. A season has passed. Not only passed, but the bottoms of some of those “dead” jalapeño plants are trying to send up shoots of green already. Anything with life left in its roots is sensing the warmth of the growing days and looking for resurrection.
As I surveyed my sad little domain of naked dead plants I suddenly couldn’t stand the sight for another moment. I grabbed my shoes and headed into the back yard. I dragged each useless pot to the edge of the hole the greyhounds, now long gone from our family, dug many years ago and dumped it in. Jalapeños, tomatoes, ghost chiles, basil– they all went. I rinsed the pots and left them to dry in the sun.
It feels better to have that done. And I know that it’s not just about the plants on my deck.
It’s important to recognize when a season is over. It occurs to me that if one doesn’t clear out the old past-prime stuff from the last season, it will occupy the space where new potential could take root and grow into something strong and glorious. It will suffocate every tender golden thing that tries to establish itself in that space.
It is time to make room for the new season. I am realizing that I’ve actually been actively doing that for over a month now. I just didn’t realize that was what I was doing when I was rearranging parts of my house, sorting through closets, and making piles of stuff to jettison from my living space. But as that external activity flowed into these current days of internal sorting and pruning and rearranging, it’s obvious.
Sometimes my brain is the last to get the memo.