So there it is – a summer in my own little hundred-foot acre, and a year in this place. The garden is done and this is absolutely all that was left over. Sedum and rose pilfered from the haphazard plantings outside my building; marigolds, aster seed heads and crabapples from the common plantings at the community garden; and the dried zinnias and sunflowers that have accumulated over the past months. It’s hard to let the spent blossoms go – each one a sculpture made of time and color, and as fascinating in their way as fresh blooms are enchanting.
I drove out for the last farmer’s market, under an empty sky pulsing with light as golden and rosy as the flesh of a juicy plum. Coastlines of sand-colored stubble where soybeans have been carved away, and the corn – now as tan as dried oak leaves – being churned from its great heights into oceans of kernels for food and who knows what else. There weren’t any flowers in Fort Atkinson, but I found instead the Biggest Apple I have seen in some time, and asian pears, salad greens, and a dozen eggs in ruddy dark brown, as if the hens also know it’s fall.
I have not been counting Sundays for – oh, it seems like a few months. Just the momentum of picking weeds and watching for seedlings, then finding the first buds and blossoms – this timeline replaced my other urgencies with a to-do list far beyond my control. Then, this week – just as my little enterprise culminated in the last bouquets and first new seed packets for 2023 – I saw my person a few too many times. And felt myself begin again to watch the days for some little glimmer of hope.
I’m not sure how much longer there will be flowers every Sunday. This experience has had its own momentum and its own timeline, and has worked deep changes in my life. But it has also taken me out of the world of friends and housework and poetry and even other art that matters to me – even other photography I no longer do.
Over and over, I think – I just want pleasure. To enjoy what is here, and who I am, and the people I love. I might need some art/life balance, I think, to re-seed those other little patches in my 100-foot acre and plant something new for another spring.