Report From PIA – October 4
Today I celebrated the harvest. I started the day by reading the posts on a couple of the blogs links on this page. I clicked on Coffee and Chemo, and Toto, finding that each post was about the Jewish celebration of Succot.
After leaving my computer I went to the garden and gathered a large bouquet to take to church. Rudbeckia triloba, the last of the ‘Annabelle’ hydrangeas, dahlias and the seed-heads of Cimicifuga ‘Brunette” made a lovely, large arrangement for the front of the sanctuary.
As I wandered around the gardens when I got home, I realized that at this time of year I’m collecting and appreciating the garden visually as well. Within two or three weeks it is likely to freeze, so there aren’t many more days when I can gaze on these full flowerbeds. I snap many photos and try to fully take in all of these rich colors and lush growth.
Later in the afternoon I picked most of the figs off the Brown Turkey tree. After Saturday’s rain many were ripe and splitting, and recently I’ve noticed that a chipmunk had found a way into the protective netting; I had to free it from the netting on Thursday, and now three of the figs were half-eaten. It was time to stop this grazing before all of the fruit was gone.
As I prepared a pie filling of some figs, pears and apples, I thought back on the Toto post by Rabi Rami. He wrote this about the construction of the sukkah, a temporary booth or structure made as part of Succot:
“The sukkah must be flimsy, temporary, and open to the elements. Why? Because the sukkah teaches us that there is no shelter from the storms of life. There is nothing we can build that will protect us from life’s catastrophes. Coming as it does on the heels of Yom Kippur and the notion that we have been written into the Book of Life, Sukkot is a huge slap of awakening. Being inscribed into the Book of Life has nothing to do with avoiding danger, sorrow, suffering, or death. Rather it means that whatever this year brings, you cannot escape it, and you are challenged to spend your time l’chayyim: promoting life, enjoying life’s gifts, and giving thanks for them.”
This resonated with my view of a gardening life. Those who have followed this blog for the past year know that I named our property Poison Ivy Acres to remind me that life isn’t all beautiful gardens, but also contains the unwanted and itchy. Even as I work to cultivate flowers, fruit and vegetables, I need to embrace and acknowledge the yin and yang, the good and the bad, the fullness of the garden and our days on this earth.
Harvest time incorporates the abundance of the season along with the knowledge that winter is just a couple of months away. Today I celebrated the gifts of my garden, shared some of these crops, and tried, as much as possible to gather it all in.