Now that the new school year has started, reading — both books and blogs — is one of those joys that get pushed aside. But I’ve decided to make the effort. That’s why I picked up Colm Toibin’s The Testament of Mary, a short book that tackles a very big subject: the latter years of the Blessed Mother.
In between her recollections of her actions during her Son’s life, there was one passage that jumped from the page, a paragraph that captured me at this change of seasons.
“I do not often leave the house. I am careful and watchful; now that the days are shorter and the nights are cold, when I look out the windows I have begun to notice something that surprises me and holds me. There is a richness in the light. It is as if, in becoming scarce, in knowing that it has less time to spread its gold over where we are, it lets loose something more intense, something that is filled with shivering clarity.”
Why was Mary staying in the house? Why was light so important to her? Could it be that Mary suffered from Seasonal Affect Disorder, also known as SAD? I know I do. When the sun goes down, my SAD goes up.
Autumn has only begun, but now that Joe and I have closed the pool, I already find myself wanting to hibernate, to lament the loss of daylight — and there is still so much to do in the garden. Leaves holding on to branches have yet to fall and be raked. Beds filled with end-of-summer blooms need to be cleaned. And let’s not overlook the tender tropicals that need to be dug and tucked away for the winter.
All this SAD-ness from someone who enjoys many of fall’s offerings: oversized sweaters and bejeweled leaves and crispy air. But by the time I return home from work, with the shadows made quite long by a rapidly setting sun, I find that I do not want to venture outside. I want to curl up with a blanket and a book and wait patiently for spring.
At about this same time, I visited my friend Carla’s blog, The Heartbeat Girl, a wonderful site that is honest, observant, and humorous — written through the eyes of a true Jersey Girl. In a recent post, she wrote of fall, offering a few suggestions on how to make living a part of the dying season. Although each of her ideas were a reminder to run outside and celebrate the changes, her number 5 has stayed with me:
“Be blue. I am not a climatologist, so I’m unaware of any scientific background to what I’m about to say: The fall sky is not the same sky you see in spring or summer. Step outside and take it in, be in it . . .”
And so I find myself looking upward and wondering: Could blue be the antidote for the blues?
My friend was correct in her number 5. There is no other blue like autumn blue. In fact, there is also no other red like autumn red, no other gold like autumn gold — no other anything like autumn anything.
Where does all this take me? To my sadness that summer is gone, to my finding autumn joy, to my celebration of rest for the weary garden and gardener, and to my complete gratitude that others have taken the time to put to paper (or textbox) such beautiful heartfelt words.
With all this talk of authors and writing, now seems like the perfect time to announce the winner of The Victorian Garden giveaway. As in the past, I created an Excel spreadsheet with the names of the entrants. This gave me a range, which I then inputted at Random.org, where a number in that range was selected . . . well, randomly.
The winner is:
Number 10 on my spreadsheet, also known as Debra, who also happens to be the woman behind the stress-relieving blog Breathe Lighter. Congratulations! I will be in touch via email to get your mailing address.