I began to shape this post in Mid-September, around the time shadows grew, light waned and plantings began to lose color and die off.
One of my greatest pleasures and passions is gardening. From early April to mid October, every time I enter my front garden filled with an array of perennials, annuals, shrubs and trees, I am immersed in a spectrum of colors, shapes, and smells. Daily, I scan and take stalk of each bed. I look for blooms and insects. I consider what plant needs deadheading, cutting back, or water.
I note leaves. Are they wilted or firm? Each plant has the potential to invoke its own sense of gratitude. Shower a drooping zinnia; and within minutes, its head will lift, its leaves will splay with vitality. My wide, dapple-leaved Daphne shrub, a six-year survivor of three, gets first prize for beauty and resilience.
Mornings in July, I resonate with the intoxicating rhythms of sun-lit lilies—purple, red, effervescent yellow, and peach. Their lace-fringed petals, vibrant throats, nubile stamens fuel my gratitude. At day’s end, when a blossom has twisted and closed, I note with gratitude the eloquence of its soft coil.
Labor Day weekend, a marker of summer’s end, I needed a memory maker, a new space to explore, something to lift my spirits. Marv and I searched out and found the walking path around Waban Lake, adjacent to Wellesley College in the next town. The trail was mixed— at first, urban, cared for by the college groundskeepers, wide, even and pretty. But in short order, it shifted. Dirt based, slopping and rugged with varied leafy and evergreen trees, the feel was at once familiar, reminiscent of long ago campfire girl camp hikes at Camp Hitinowa on Lake Cobboseecontee in Lichfield, Maine.
We walked with caution on the uneven terrain thick with tree roots, when the forest cleared and we came upon a stone, castle-like mansion with a front yard hillside of sculptured trees facing the lake. I marveled at the thought of the bevy of gardeners on ladders, the balanced effort it must have taken to shape these trees into thick, round discs reaching skyward. The effect was old world, perhaps, French, leaving me to wonder about the marvel of contrasts, how a new trail can engender the unexpected.
The property’s walkway was groomed, wide and even, bounded by a likeside stonewall. Along the edge of the perimeter, I came upon several thick lily beds with a rich harvest of sticks. No markers for the colors that had gone-by, I could only imagine the lush foliage. The stretch was sunny, facing the bucolic lake, an ideal location for lilies to flourish. I was at once at home, delighted to come upon the familiar yellowing leaves—grateful for my day’s quest and the promise to return and witness their blooms come summer.