Autumn is a poetic season

Julie Brocklehurst-Woods/Special to the Livingston County NewsFall is a bittersweet time: the beauty of nature surrounds us, yet beneath it we know that winter is coming.

This Autumn, let something die.

A worry, a relationship, a project that has run its course. Let go of anxiety over the future. Let go of guilt.

Let go of other people’s dreams for you. Let go of the fear that happiness or success or love or joyousness somehow isn’t for you.

Let go of feeling unwanted.

Go outside, can you feel how deeply your presence is craved here?

Let go of the small and burdensome things. Gifts never opened. Keys without a lock. Broken earrings, old love letters, the ephemera on your fridge.

“Anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.” This Autumn, let go of all the clothes you have outgrown.

Let go of comparison.

Let go of doubt.

Let go of the feeling that you are somehow not good enough.

Because every imperfect apple that lays soft in your hands, and every ray of low Autumn sunlight that warms you through woolens will tell you a different story, a much truer story. The story that you are more, much more, than enough. That you bless this world simply by being alive.

– Anonymous

I recently received this poem from a gardening friend on Facebook. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but sometimes a poem will capture feelings better than any narrative form. This poem connected with my emotions, and also was enjoyed by my Facebook friends.

Fall is a bittersweet time: the beauty of nature surrounds us, yet beneath it we know that winter is coming. Changing clocks and the sun cycle make the dark evenings after dinner longer, with more time to fill before bed.

We gradually spend more time in the warm indoors. As much as I enjoy gardening, I welcome the respite and change of pace. Holiday lights will soon fill the darkness, bringing a different kind of joy, with numerous festive occasions.

The shortest days are in December, but January seems darker after holiday lights have been packed away. I call January the month of peace. I try to write down ideas for the upcoming year throughout the gardening season, but this first month of the year is when my actual decisions are being made. New catalogs arrive daily, and a wealth of information about plants is available in books, magazines and internet.

A garden doesn’t need to be bigger to be better. Maybe a path or a large stone could fill a difficult space instead of plants. Now is the time to take photos of your garden, to study as your decisions are made in winter. Make your garden into space for you to enjoy. Don’t worry about what others maythink: you certainly will spend far more time in your garden than anyone else. As you spend more time in your garden, the plants will receive the care they need.

Perhaps the concept of a low maintenance of a low-maintenance garden is given too much attention. Spending time outdoors can nurture our souls, and our gardens will thrive.

Julie Brocklehurst-Woods has been a Master Gardener Volunteer with Cornell Cooperative Extension of Livingston County since 2002. She enjoys helping all gardeners become successful gardeners, especially helping people identify tools and strategies to prioritize and simplify their gardening tasks. She will answer gardening questions by email:

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