“At this season, change was in the air itself, the scents of ripeness and death borne on the breeze, and the breath of winter in its chill. Still, they rhythms of the turning each brought change that was expected, ordained; body and mind met it with knowledge and–on the whole–with peace.”
Diana Gabaldon in The Fiery Cross (Outlander)
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I hope you are enjoying the season, whether you live in a place with fall or not. I really enjoy the beauty that comes in this season before winter. The days are colder, the leaves are falling, the garden plants have pretty much stopped growing. It’s time for rest, for gardens and gardeners alike.
“Winter was nearly here; the foraging was over, the garden harvested, the preserving done. The pantry shelves bulged with sacks of nuts, heaps of squash, rows of potatoes, jars of dried tomatoes, peaches, and apricot, bowls of dried mushrooms, wheels of cheese, and baskets of apples. Braids of onions and garlic and strings of dried fish hung from the ceiling; bags of flour and beans, barrels of salt cured beef and salt fish, ands tone jars of sauerkraut stood on the floor. I counted over my hoard like a squirrel reckoning nuts, and felt soothed by our abundance. No matter what else happened, we would neither starve nor go hungry.”
Diana Gabaldon in Drums of Autumn (Outlander)
I’ve been reading the ‘Outlander’ series. This weekend I happened to be reading while canning applesauce and I read this passage. I had to smile to myself, because it’s so true!
My root cellar is filled with onions and potatoes, there’s garlic in the basement, the freezer is filled with fruit, vegetables and meat, the pantry is filled with onion braids, dried apples, maple syrup, and all manner of food tucked into jars. It’s a wonderful feeling being soothed by abundance because of the hard work you put in over the summer.
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“I have lived temperately, eating little animal food, and that . . . as a condiment for the vegetables, which constitute my principal diet.”
-Thomas Jefferson (The Gardens of Monticello)
Is there anything more perfect than a BLT in summer? A small amount of meat and a lot of vegetables from the garden. I love to add slices of onion to my BLT, and thick slices of heirloom beefsteak tomatoes. In my mind, it’s the perfect meal for a late summer day, especially for breakfast!
“There was a curious peace in this day, a sense of things working quietly in their proper courses, nothing minding the upsets and turmoils of human concerns. Perhaps it was the peace that one always finds outdoors, far enough away from buildings and clatter. Maybe it was the result of gardening, that quiet sense of pleasure in touching growing things, the satisfaction of helping them thrive.”
Diana Gabaldon from Outlander
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I hope you can spend time in the garden and find a bit of this peace today!
“I believe that this way of living, this focus on the present, the daily, the tangible, this intense concentration not on the news headlines but on the flowers in your own garden, the children growing in your own home, this way of living has the potential to open up the heavens, to yield a glittering handful of diamonds where a second ago there was coal. This way of living and noticing and building and crafting can crack through the movie sets and soundtracks that keep us waiting for our own life stories to begin, and set us free to observe the lives we have been creating all along without even realizing it.”
Shauna Niequiest in Cold Tangerines
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I was working in the garden yesterday and thinking about this quote and about this idea. An acquaintance passed away yesterday after a long illness. She was young, not much older than I am. She leaves behind her husband, it’s sad, very sad.
Death is never easy, yet it will come to all of us. We know it will come, we just hope it will be when we’re old and when we think we’ve lived enough of our life. None of us has the guarantee of growing old, another day, or even another minute. Life is fleeting, even if we live to be 100.
And yet somehow we still find ourselves going through our days without noticing the things that actually make up our lives. So often we are waiting for perfection to start living and enjoying. We are waiting for that big moment, for that trip, to reach a certain place.
Our lives are lived in every moment, and often these are the moments that are most important. We live our lives in our offices, in our kitchens, in our gardens, on our sofas. All of these seconds add up to our lives. When we look back at those moments with loved ones who are gone, they often revolve around these moments and not the big events.
I have fond memories of shelling peas with my family and making up songs while we worked (I can still remember the songs). There are memories around the dinner table, of playing cards, conversations in the car on a drive, an evening walk; these are the little moments that are the glittering diamonds in our memories. Enjoy these moments. Savor each day, each task, each flower, each person, each interaction. Life is fleeting, don’t waste it waiting for something big!