The first snow

The garden is gone. Or rather, the garden is changed. My first thought is sadness, and my second is gratitude. I’ve been thinking a lot about how gardening has saved us, yet again. We have food. We have beauty. And it’s kept us from despair. During these months of the pandemic, we focused on our garden, and we were grateful for the time we had to do so. Now, as we head into winter, it will be hard to keep our spirits up.

We voted the other day, by mail, and our ballots were counted and accepted, but I can’t help thinking that, no matter what happens as a result of the election, we have to be prepared for a rough few months, and it will be important not to lose hope. So, we planted crocuses. We planted snowdrops. We planted garlic. And we even planted spinach seeds that should come up very first thing when the ground begins to soften.

Coneflowers in snow and sunlight

We only have to get through November, December, January, and February before we start gardening outside again. In February, I’ll start seeds indoors. And all winter, I plan to clip kale and dig parsnips which I’ve covered with straw and frost fabric for late-season harvests. I’m planning for despair but laying the groundwork to fight against it.

I thought of a song today. It’s an American folksong, and it reminds me that everything is evanescent, both good and bad. It reminds me that hope is a kind of pendulum, swinging from sadness to joy.

How can I keep from singing?

My life goes on in endless song
Above earth´s lamentations,
I hear the real, though far-off hymn
That hails a new creation.

Through all the tumult and the strife
I hear its music ringing,
It sounds an echo in my soul.
How can I keep from singing?

While though the tempest loudly roars,
I hear the truth, it liveth.
And though the darkness ’round me close,
Songs in the night it giveth.

No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that rock I´m clinging.
Since love is lord of heaven and earth
How can I keep from singing?

When tyrants tremble in their fear
And hear their death knell ringing,
When friends rejoice both far and near
How can I keep from singing?

In prison cell and dungeon vile
Our thoughts to them are winging,
When friends by shame are undefiled
How can I keep from singing?

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