I had the best day today not building stairs.
I did all kinds of other things that needed doing, but not The Thing. And those tend to be the best days. A friend visit, sitting companionably with pet birds, and doing frost prep in the garden that’s going to sleep now under a thick blanket of mulch.
Two perfect fall days, crisp and bugless and sunny, and instead of the harvest pressure overwhelm, holding a sense of ease and “enough”-ness.
I may also be getting more sleep due to the shortening days – that may have something to do with the bliss. It’s almost the “it’s either done or it’s not done, full stop” time, when you walk away regardless of “done”.
I could be all-seasoning my garden, but instead I’m putting it to bed. Getting more out of the year will come later. As I take in the late beans, etc, I’m thinking about all the things I’ll do different next year (More watermelons. And orange and yellow tomatoes), the mistakes I’ll correct (plant melons later, they don’t like it cold) . There’s always next year. It’s easy, and pleasant, to look forward to what will be bigger and better with the lately earned experience and knowledge, and it likely will. But it’s nice to look back and recognize for a moment that it is better, now, than it was.
I’ve learned to garden some. I grew cabbages. I have a garden shed now. My beds are really getting in order. I’ve experienced the joy of sweeping a mulch blanket off a bed and finding it ready to plant. No-till is awesome. “No-work” is a crock of…. There’s a great deal of work, mostly upfront, and then the quality, weedless bed must be maintained – kept covered when not in use like a jar of milk, lest it grow unwanted things.
Maybe it’s coming with age (or the decline of energy that, once boundless, must now be budgeted) . I’m getting better at rationing my ambition. It won’t all get done at once, or nearly as soon as I’d like to. Given enough time, it will. And it will be better along the way if I aim low. Instead of how much can I fit in, I’m starting to think more like how little can I get away with planning to do? (Oh, the tyranny of a plan!) I’d love to paint the house. It needs it, blah blah, but hell, it can wait! It will be great when it gets done, but not worth the weight of grimly determining to do it. I’m not going to put that on a mental list yet, because it will be heavy there. I’m choosing the lightness of unscheduled, and any time unscheduled is a win. The time gets filled, with good and productive things, even things I might have planned, but it’s sweeter when it’s not on a list. (I’ve known this forever. It’s still elusive prey).
I’m thinking about my successes and gifts of the year, what I want to tweak: how I can spend more time with my friends?, hoping I can share out part of my greenhouse, how to ration out my time? (half a day seems to be the best maximum for focusing on any one project), will this be the year I finally get potatoes in the ground at fall?
How can I escape the September crush? Because it’s bad. Bad for me. I want to never feel like that again, and it has been part of the annual routine since moving here. And that, I think, is part of the adjustment that comes with diving into the farming life (along with, you’re going to suck at everything at first and make big mistakes). I’ve got to find a new rhythm. But I grew brussel sprouts, so I can learn to adjust my rhythm. Give me time.