I just can’t believe the difference between this time now and this time last year. What a difference. Last year we were struggling hard with our winter garden, which first off, we had gotten in little late, but then had to deal with rain. So much cloud cover and rain had made germination and growth very slow. We even had to skip our first two winter CSA deliveries because things looked so stunted, the soil was brand new and we weren’t sure what to expect. This time last year really sucked for things trying to grab a life out of the soil!
But things are growing like mad and look wonderful. I have lettuce and greens to harvest not to mention all the peppers, eggplant, and some green tomatoes which hang there just waiting to be plucked! The sun has been on my side this year, just taking care of things perfectly. There were times in Seattle the sun wouldn’t come out for days. Really, especially this time of year. Fall in Seattle is a different kind of beautiful. The days are cool and high clouds look like rain but none comes. Its pitch black by 5pm and thick fog comes down and sparkles in the street lights. The mornings are wet, thick dew blankets the grass.
When I was a kid a small group of us walking to school would sneak into a tiny vineyard and pick grapes and eat them on our way to school. We rarely got caught. I believe the family may have been Quaker or Amish, they seemed very different to me. They were kind people and never chased us off harshly. The people who grew these grapes also had a very large garden and there were still pumpkins and large winter squash on the vine. We left those alone, the grapes were good sweet and tart. Years later I noticed they had put up a fence. I guess tired of their vineyards morning visitors.
Fall in Seattle does not mean profound color changes as much as it means an unprecedented soft cool green lushness. Leaves fall off some of the trees, the maples are beautiful, but most are pine and cedar. The dark brown bark, the Kelly green moss that blankets the ground and north side of the trees, the branches hang low and heavy hiding thick monstrous trunks. It’s a good time to break out the winter coats and sweaters. It’s a good time to walk and breathe. I can appreciate the beauty now especially after the summer we’ve had here in Oklahoma, but the thing I’ve come to accept about myself is that I need sun. I’ll take the heat when its handed to me but I can’t be settled in days of sunless skies.
Fall in Oklahoma is beautiful. The leaves turning, the grasses becoming golden and the green blades of grass turning purple from the coolness, there is so much color. I get sad though when all of the leaves fall off the oaks exposing gnarled branches that reach up like skinny dead fingers. There something about it that is unsettling to me and I don’t focus on it. I look down to the earth more for life. I don’t want to see the stillness and the rest that my oaks are embracing. It scares me. I know they’re not dead, they just look like it. But a child like fear creeps in every fall here. Reason unknown, un-investigated and un-analyzed. Its creeping in slowly I know its coming. Winter gardens, lush green high tunnels, cold frames full of big healthy greens and radishes are the remedy to the deep darkness I struggle with this time of year keeping it at acceptable levels.