Is Autumn the Ending or Only the Beginning of the Beginning?

Autumn is so beautiful, but the ending of summer is a hard thing to accept. I must learn to walk through the garden and see this season as a time of ultimate renewal; after all, I must tell myself, this is simply a period of change, not an ending.

Yet it is hard to see beginnings in the yellow leaves swirling in the pool, or in the frost-seared leaves of the hostas. The heavy release of the cedar needles seems to tell of a harsh winter coming, and the empty skies, with only a crow speaking in the distance, beg for the twittering of the sparrows and the chatter of the chickadees. Where have they gone? I can hear the dried leaves skittering down the street. I hear them protesting as I walk across the yard, breaking them down with every step. My eye avoids the burned look of dying plants, seeking the brighter hues of those with more resistance to the cold.

There is a certain amount of guilt here too. I haven’t been watering as much as I should if I really wanted to carry on the illusion of summer. I have not trimmed spent flower heads. I have not refreshed containers that just needed a little attention. I, too, seem to be winding down, ready for the change that is inevitable here in Winnipeg.

Still, the scarlet Virginia creeper with its midnight berries couldn’t be lovelier, even without my attentions. The golden hops vine is in full bloom, the big maple leaf-shaped leaves finding their way through the apple tree toward the sun. By the back steps, the rudbeckia has recovered from the summer heat and is revelling in the cooler air. And the parsley has come back from its travails in feeding the many parsley worms that occupied and devoured its greenery this summer.

Those are the lovely things of autumn, but in our part of the world the transition from gold and red to silver and black can be very sudden and sharp. Perhaps it is the knowing of this that makes it almost a relief when the snow arrives. All garden mistakes are now hidden, and a new sense of expectancy populates the air. We must scurry to be ready for Christmas and when that is over, we can begin to dream of spring. Once the snow flies, can spring and renewal be far behind?

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6 thoughts on “Is Autumn the Ending or Only the Beginning of the Beginning?

  1. Norma Chang says:

    Hello Dorothy,
    Thanks for sharing your beautiful pool side garden, it is gorgeous even this time of year. Not much autumn colors yet in my part of the Hudson Valley, but in a short time the area will be blazing with all the fall colors, just gorgeous.
    Love and enjoy your writing, Sure wish I could write well. Looking forward to future postings.
    Norma Chang

  2. Margie says:

    My growing season here in Alberta is even shorter than yours, I think! My Virginia Creeper has dropped all of it’s leaves… but the Hollyhock and one rose bush are still blooming. Fall is an odd time of year!

  3. Ellen Kolisnyk says:

    What a lovely celebration of fall!
    Your farewell to summer garden video reminded me of my own back yard… my first year Morning Glories FINALLY began to bloom once the heat subsided… hundreds of blossoms! Only to be abruptly terminated by the frost that eventually, but definitely spelled their doom… hoping they had a chance to drop a few seeds for next year. I did take many photos of their bright blue splash of colour – would you like me to try to send some to you?

  4. Ellen Kolisnyk says:

    We are still enjoying our last tastes of summer, in the form of the lettuces, arugula, rosemary, thyme, basil, dill, and sage that I lifted out of the garden, and planted into a window box that graces our south window, as well as those late tomatoes that we rescued from the frost. They continue to ripen in the porch… the numbers and freshness are dwindling, but they are a celebration, nonetheless!

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