Today’s guest blogger, Esther Miller, is our Nature Connection Messenger.* From her new home in central, coastal California, she shares her wonderful observations of gardens, outdoors, and…of course…living! These are such rich, beautiful connections.
Reflections on messiness
Elizabeth’s recent post about the messiness of changing seasons (“Changing Seasons Can Be Messy”) explains my life quite well these days. In the mess of an ended relationship, the renewal of others, and a move across country, I have not been writing much for my own blog or Elizabeth’s. Maybe soon will come a new season of content and productivity.
Look deeper for what’s really going on
As a long-time gardener, I have always welcomed autumn with all of its messes. It is true that most of the blossoms have shriveled and disappeared into the larger fall of tree leaves and annual grasses. But as those glories of summer fall to the earth, Nature begins the job of renewal. The nutrients pumped high into trees are lying there on the soil, ready for release to begin the journey once again. The fibers of the grasses and leaves break down slowly and hold moisture in the soil spaces that would otherwise give up their treasure too quickly. And the insects that feed on decaying matter mix it into the top layers of soil to speed the process of renewal.
Winter is a critical part of the cycle
Then comes winter. In much of this country, winter brings cold and short days. Rare warm days can warm the soil and heave plants right out of their place if not well insulated by the messes of autumn. The insects either die, leaving their bodies to enrich the soil, or they burrow deeper allowing moisture and organic matter to reach greater depths. This zone of enrichment is topsoil, the best and richest we can have. Winter is a time of waiting, letting all that decomposition take place and be slowly returned to the soil.
Nature won’t be rushed
This is the cycle of nature. In our rush to beautify, to clean up, to grow the biggest and the bestest, we disrupt that cycle. The more we let Nature deal with her own messes, the more patient we are in allowing her to work at her own pace, the more topsoil we have and the greater satisfaction we find in living within the rhythm of life.
So welcome the messes of autumn, recognize them as the windfall of riches they really are, and be patient in the long period of waiting and renewal. Whether the seasons are in your garden or your life, they will change. Don’t be too eager to rush them or to overlook their purposes. In due time, growth will come again and life will bloom.
This is nature’s perfect timing.
Esther has worked professionally in special education and mental health and has had a variety of volunteer jobs. Gardening, cooking, and ham radio are among her many interests. She married and raised her family in California, then lived in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia for nearly 14 years. She recently returned to California to be near family.