After the Hallowed Evening at the end of October, the northwest rains make their reliable appearance. So when there is a week of sunshine, I take advantage. Out in my garden this morning by 8:30, the air was Autumn sweet, icy breeze from the north, fallen maple leaves dusted with frost everywhere. Time to mulch, I told myself. But despite the recent sun, a whole week prior of pelting rain had the leaves still so wet underneath they kept stalling my mower. So I did the next best thing. I raked them into huge piles-no easy feat I can tell you, they were heavy!-pulled up the drooped tomato plants and snaky pumpkin threads, unearthed the last of the root vegetables, and then tossed wheel barrels full of nature’s deciduous foliage in the beds.
I spied a few rotting tomatoes before the leaves landed, ensuring next years’ volunteers. About a month ago, I pretended to be the wind that blows the seeds from the decaying flower heads to the ground. Only instead of gentle wafting, I vigorously shook the foxglove stalks, mullein towers, poppy heads and bolted lettuce skeletons. Tiny seeds met Earth and rested there. Now my blanket of leaves will keep them warm and safe through the Winter.
I sing them a lullaby as I work. Nighty night and sleep tight. See you in the Spring time light.
Three hours later, covered in sweat and soil, my sneakers soaked through and my body tired, I feel like a mother must feel when she tucks her children into bed for the night. Satisfaction, relief, love.