It is the small simple things of life that bring us peace.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A time for everything

Several times in the last few weeks since Thanksgiving I have realized that I have not taken time to really enjoy the fall season this year.  I usually have this realization while driving along totally absorbed in what I have done, what I am about to do and what I will be doing in an hour.  I will have a reality moment when I realize that the sky is a beautiful blue and the trees a mixture of colors or that the sky is dark and gloomy and there are leaves on the wet pavement and that I have not been taking time to enjoy the sights around me.  Between work, school, and other things I have been preoccupied.

This happened last night when I left work and was headed home on a 40 minute drive to let the dogs out, quickly get dressed for the office party, and then head back out the door to the party.  There was the added stress that since I was the party planner that I had to make sure that everything was done just right.  So off I drove into the swirling mist, totally preoccupied as I gripped the steering wheel tightly.  And, then I had one of those moments of realization.  It was a beautiful late afternoon.  The mist was hanging heavily and it gave an eerie look to the landscape.  The color on the trees was muted in the foggy cloud and the brown of the grass in the median seemed to add to the mood.  I tried to focus on the scene before me and was beginning to relax until I hit traffic and the moment was lost.

I think I reclaimed the moment with the start of my Saturday.  The thermometer on the back wall of the house showed 42 degrees, but it didn't seem that cold to me.  I had on my pajamas, beloved red flannel robe and fuzzy socks inside my gardening shoes; a lovely sight, but so comfortable.  It has been too cold to sit outside in the mornings for a while, so I was ready to go out.  The dogs were happy to be exploring around the yard and the steam was rising from my mug of coffee and swirling into oblivion.  The sky was just getting light, full of those small puffy clouds that I associate with a winter morning; grey underneath and a peachy yellow on top as the sun hit them.  The trees have lost a few leaves so there was more of a view of the sky.  The breeze was slight, just causing a few leaves to swirl to the ground.  I was able to totally focus on the moment and the beautiful cold morning.

It was still in the 40's when I headed out to the Botanical Garden.  The fall gardening program is over, but we still had to clean out the plot.  We had to enter through the garden this morning and I had to stop several time to make pictures of the leaves on the pavement and rock walls.

As I surveyed our little plot I told one of the Master Gardeners that I hated to pull up everything.  I realized that some of the plants were ready to be pulled up; the broccoli was through making flowerets and the sweet peas were not going to make any pods.  Still, I went to work and filled my harvest bag with lettuce, cilantro, sweet chard, spinach,  and kale.  I pulled up the last cabbage and cut off the stem, leaving the leaves intact around the head.  Another plot had a nice sized cauliflower that I was told to pull up and take.  After pulling up one of ours I discovered that it also had a small cauliflower.  I pulled up a few carrots and added them to the bag (the carrots were the only thing to be left in the plot).
After scrubbing down my hands with extremely cold water I left the garden.  I spent some time making pictures of a brick wall built by the National Youth Administration as part of the New Deal that I want to submit to the Living New Deal.  Such a beautiful day and how wonderful to be doing something I love doing!
Next stop was a specialty grocery store not too far away.  Sometime later I left with bags of fresh fruit, vegetables and wine.  I spent time looking at everything, reading labels and inhaling the smells of the cheese department and the cooking demonstration that was starting with the frying of a large quality of chopped onion in a cast iron skillet.  I picked up some almond crusted tilapia filets and other assorted pre-made items, too. 

As I walked through the store I was still musing about having to pull up everything in the garden.  How sad.  Then I remembered that in one of the last e-mails from the garden that they had made the comment that it was time to put the garden to sleep.  When I thought of it that way, in the perspective of the cycle of nature, then I was ready to let it go.  Time to sleep for a while little plot, hope to see you in the spring.

Leaving the store I wandered in Brackenridge Park, making more pictures and marveling at the change in the last few weeks.  I had made pictures here just a few weeks ago, everything was green.  Now the various trees have changed color; especially noticeable are the large cypress trees along the river.
Mindful of the fact that I did have groceries in the back of the car, I pulled myself away from the park and headed home.  Back to reality, I thought with a sigh.  My house looked like a cross between a train wreck, earthquake and tornado scene.  I had to deal with it, I knew.  Strangely, though, when I got home it was right to work.  The groceries were put away and then I started tackling one thing at a time.  It didn't seem so bad after all.  The peaceful morning, free from distractions, had motivated and energized me.  My mind had been cleared and I was ready to work. 

I had to think of the verses from Ecclesiastes that talk of a time and season for everything.  A time to work and a time to play.  We need both; too much of either one upsets our balance. Being outside in the fresh air, enjoying what I was doing, shopping in a favorite store, brought everything into balance for me.  Even though I'm still going to be busy and have many things to do, I'll be keeping my thoughts away from the pre-occupied state so I can enjoy the swirling mist and the falling leaves.

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