I’ve started studying other people’s gardens as I drive past, looking for browning tomato stems and the open spaces that show they, too, have pulled up all their cucurbits. I need some affirmation that I haven’t messed up the garden.
My behavior reminds me of the way older people sometimes swap health news as if in confirmation that this is just the way it is when times piles up in decades. Memory fading, hip broken, balance slipping away. A season, a near final one.
The tomatoes are really on their last, spindly brown legs. The squash and cucumbers are long gone. Only the gourds linger with their autumnal gusto.
I know that all of this is normal, but just like I know it’s normal for every writer to think what she writes is abominable, trite, refuse and, thus, take heart when I read another writer say he thinks this . . . I find comfort in my neighbors’ barren patches and dried up vines.
I did seed some cold crops last week, knowing that they probably won’t produce but hoping they will at least green up the garden for the wedding. And for sure, the radishes will come.
But really, this is almost the end. This is what the brown stalks and curling leaves say . . . it’s been a good season, but now it’s time. . .
Make way for the next one.