Unlike Peter, who ponders his panties as a measure of time, I find that each year around this time is when I have my greatest reflections (and they has nothing to do with what's hanging on the line). This is the time when I come to terms with the fact that another year has passed. It isn't the start of the holiday season, but rather the end of my gardening season. This is when I'm forced to move through the rows, raised bed by raised bed, untying wires, collecting tomato cages, composting some plants, while disposing of others in the trash, picking up pots and stakes, lots of stakes, and discovering lost trowels. I dread this time of year. I hate cleaning up and shutting down. (I haven't mastered the art of winter gardening. Yet.) It makes me feel sad.
I am nearly a year older.
I rip up the tomatoes. I think about all the salsas I didn't make but all the sauce I did. Did I eat enough tomato sandwiches? Farewell peppers. You were too good to us. Broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, peas, and beans, you gave it a good fall attempt but the caterpillars and visiting human guests did you in. See you in spring strawberries and asparagus.
But wait. Hellooo, garlic. I see you. Your bright green shoots have turned my mood around. Sure, it's the end of one season, but the new season is already starting. Time to start planning.