From Where I Sit – Wintry Blessing

Both the calendar and the thermometer tell us that winter is fast approaching. The days are shorter, the nights are cooler. The Sears Christmas catalogue has been out for months. The Costco tire sale is on.

Mandarin oranges are in the stores. Sloughs and dugouts have a skim coat of frost some mornings. Josh Classen, CTV meteorologist, offers weather trivia and hints at snow. As Albertans we know the routine. Oh, we may dodge the bullet for a few more days or even weeks, but inevitably winter will come. Whether it comes with a vengeance or slowly sneaks up on us is anyone’s guess.

As someone who’s been caught, in the past, with her flower pots out I tried to capitalize on some of the sunny afternoons we’ve enjoyed recently to get things put away. The job was marginally easier this fall because I only planted half the number of pots I usually do: a deliberate attempt to save effort and money on bedding plants. Except for some spectacular Stargazer lilies, the flower beds were rather ordinary this year. Because it’s a more mature garden, shrubs, trees, and perennials take over and need to be contained. That didn’t happen this year.

The harsh reality is that because of the prolonged recovery from shoulder surgery I didn’t have the strength or energy (or frankly the desire) to even keep up with the routine maintenance a large flower garden requires. Consequently, areas that needed thinning out didn’t get it. Canada thistle and quack grass that should’ve been zapped with Roundup lived another day.

Deadheading, pruning, dividing and even watering all suffered. An old flower bed that should have been totally revamped ended being nothing more than a wasteland of volunteer perennials and quack grass. The entire south-exposure bed was to be cut back and mulched in a final last gasp surrender to the blazing sun and incredible dryness.

In spring after the thaw, Roy and I walked around the entire farm yard, an area of about five acres. We had big plans for cleaning up. We intended to fill the gravel truck with some of the scrap metal and other debris that accumulates over the life of a 60-year-old farm site. We planned some new construction. We dreamed of completing some long-held project ideas.

So, where did the summer go? It was not a proud moment to look around the yard last week and realize that nothing had happened. My health issues persist. Since February I’ve been going to doctors, having procedures done, waiting for specialists, hearing test results. Through it all, I’ve felt a lack of energy, ambition, desire, interest. And this fall cleanup is just another half-assed attempt at making my life easier come spring 2008.

I keep waiting for the old creativity, desire, and energy to return. I’m writing off this year and hoping for a better start next year. Covering up all the unfinished projects with snow just may be a blessing, from where I sit.

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