published in the Tillamook County Pioneer
By Neal Lemery
A rainy Sunday has turned into a time of recharging. The cat is in her usual place, snoozing through the afternoon, replenishing herself for the evening forays and gearing up to remind us of her dinner time. She is, perhaps, our resident chaplain, leading us by example to recharge and renew ourselves.
Batteries for several of my electronic devices sit in their chargers. Tomorrow, the electric weedwhacker will be put to use, bringing order to my sister in law’s yard. And, the camera battery will be tasked in photographing this fall’s amazing display of foliage.
The earth itself is recharging, after a hectic summer. The lawn is slowly turning green from the welcome rain. Mushrooms are emerging where only a few weeks ago, the dead grass crunched and the ground was more like oven-fired clay. Even the raspberries have put out a new, unexpected crop, adding yet another layer of winter delights to the freezer. The final round of crops from the garden finish their ripening, spread around the house, as we all prepare for winter.
The garden cycle continues, as I add leaves, grass clippings and the kitchen compost bucket offerings to the compost maker. Its resident earthworms are happily overwhelmed with new-found abundance.
I plant new garlic cloves, knowing that next summer will bring abundant fresh garlic to summer vegetable stir fries and pickles. I enjoy the garlic growing to not only satisfy my love of garlic, but also because garlic is a rebel, wanting to be planted in fall and harvested in early summer, out of kilter with the other crops. A new crop in the garden, filling the spaces left open by harvest, is my celebration of hope for the future, and sparks the making of my new wish list for next year’s garden.
The neighboring farmers are recharging, too. They’ve finished their corn harvests, followed quickly by new harrowing and the planting of their winter grass crops. What was once an experiment in planting has now turned into part of a year-round planting and harvesting cycle. I’m told this variety of grass adds nitrogen, protects the soil from the pounding of the winter rains, and is another food source for cows. I celebrate my neighbors’ curiosity and willingness to be innovative. That spirit of curiosity, boldness, and scientific curiosity serves the community well, and inspires me to live more like a farmer.
The quiet morning stillness, and the first sounds of raindrops from the incoming front, offer me renewal, and space in my life for some gratitude and peace. The natural cycles of this place call us out to pay attention, to take a breath and pause. As the earth recharges, as I recharge, I seek to follow that example, readying myself for new ideas, and new perspectives in this time of challenge and change.