A Moment’s Grace

I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. . . For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. ~Wendell Berry, American poet and visionary

Bulbs ready to plantNovember has been a turbulent month. October was a slow graceful dance into the dying year, still filled with bloom and color, but November’s winds and weather grabbed and shook the world into the gateway of winter. For the first time in many years, I ordered bulbs to plant in the garden. Inspired by the renewal of the garden paths (see The Big Picture), I imagined a glorious spring filled with bulbs blooming in impossible beauty. What I forgot was how low one must bend to plant them in the earth!

After weeks of digging, only a last few crocus and scilla remain on my dining room table, awaiting placement along the path to the birdbath. After waves of sleet, rain, ferocious winds, and snow, this weekend’s mild temperatures may soften the frozen soil and provide a moment’s grace to complete the work of this weary but hopeful gardener. Winter has arrived, snow lies all around and the only growth in nature is taking place unseen, underground. The growing season is on pause and I am content to rest from my garden labors and dream about the spring to come. A moment’s grace indeed. Click on any photo to start the slideshow (All photos ©2014 Lynn Emberg Purse, All Rights Reserved).

We learn from our gardens to deal with the most urgent question of the time: How much is enough? ~Wendell Berry

Wendell Berry, poet, book author, gardener, and environmental visionary, was interviewed by Bill Moyers last year. See the amazing video here at Wendell Berry on His Hopes for Humanity and listen to him read “The Peace of Wild Things” (20:36).

25 thoughts on “A Moment’s Grace

  1. I’m sorry things turned bleak for you so early this year. Your snow pictures look pretty, but I know winter is a hard season to live through up there. It sounds like the right season to turn inward and into your music.

  2. Another very nice set of images, Lynn.

    it’s been a mostly brutal November in NE Illinois and central Indiana–record cold, in fact; similar, in fact, to what you’re describing in western PA. Glad to hear that the brief weekend warm spell (we’re experiencing the same phenomenon) is providing you the opportunity to complete your bulb planting. I’m sure that we’ll all reap the benefits in the spring, through your photographs.

    • Thanks, Kerry. I’ve just come in from a day in the garden. All the bulbs have been planted, finally (yea!!!!) and a certain contentment has descended upon me 🙂 Time will tell but I hope very much to photograph the results of this planting next spring – I imagine it is much the same for you as you plan photographic journeys, imagining what is to come and trying to capture the results. I look forward to catching up on what you’ve been posting lately. Cheers!

  3. Just arrived home from the dry brown of Niger. Great to see your nicely documented beauty, even in this ‘down time’ of the year. Gives one a real sense of anticipation! Thanks.

    • Graham, so glad you arrived home safely! It must be quite a contrast to Niger, which is quite an arid land. I love the green hills of western Pennsylvania, with all of its flowing water and enough rain to keep gardeners and farmers happy. Your comment reminded me of coming home from a week at the beach one summer – from the flat expanse of blue and gray and tan of coastal Virginia to the intense greens tucked into the hills and valleys surrounding my garden- the difference couldn’t have been greater!

  4. That winter blast that we encountered several weeks ago was horrible … and lasting two weeks to boot! Definitely tough on the plants .. .but hey … they are hearty!

    On a side note, a question for you. We’re in a condo now, & planted coralbells in early fall. Last week the outside crew did their mowing and cleaning detail … and (to our surprise) they weed whacked the coralbells. We had coralbells at the house, and my wife didn’t cut them back (and they did well). Question …. will these return in the spring?

  5. Beautiful photos as always. Your planting of the bulbs in the cold and seeming dead earth in anticipation of the cycle of life to glorious spring is such a spiritual meditation. We learn from your garden to hope. Lovely.

  6. Lovely photos! I feel the same! October was to die for in Boise and the first part of November gave us rain like we were a real part of the PNW! But mid-Nov dumped 9 inches of snow and I was still scrambling to get my bulbs in hours before the first snowflake fell. But the seasons change and we must find the beauty in all of them. Have pondered that myself…how much is enough?

    • Thanks, Andrea. I can imagine you planting bulbs before the storm; I’ve done that here too! I took a quick look at your bulb post and can’t wait to get back to explore it. As for how much, in the garden nothing succeeds like excess 🙂

  7. Oh, Lynn, your garden is always a place of beauty, but now I’m really excited for the spring photos! Almost too heavenly…how wonderful it will be. Hope the winter offers peace, stillness, and the sweet dreams every gardener deserves of coming magic. 🙂 Thank you for these lovely words and photos.

  8. Absolutely Beautiful……………….so thankful to have become your friend……………Looking forward to walking in your garden again! God’s Peace!

    • Charlie, we had a glorious October, but the first day of November was a huge change! It has been a wild ride ever since, but I’ve managed to keep planting on the few mild days. Just need one more hour to finish everything 🙂 and then I will be happy to let the garden sleep for a while. Stay warm and dry!

  9. Pingback: Moyers & Company Segment: Wendell Berry on His Hopes for Humanity | Noticing Nature

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