On the one hand, it was exciting to eat fresh summer squash, peppers and green beans — even tomatoes and Thai eggplant — just days before Halloween, but on the other, we had to hold off clearing the garden of the season’s detritus.
As eager as I am to embark each spring on the year’s vegetative journey, I am equally as eager to retire once daylight wanes and temperatures sink.
Like Christmas, anticipation fuels my captivation. Leading up to the Eve, food is magical, music is joyful and companionship is dear. But in the flat winter’s light of Christmas afternoon, children need to sleep, dishes need to be washed and guests need to head for home.
The holiday is over, and tired, sad decorations must take their bow.
So it is with the garden. Leading up to Memorial Day, seed catalogs are magical, lengthening days are joyful and seedlings are dear. But, when dawn arrives after a killing frost, all that plant life I so lovingly nurtured and tended and celebrated needs to find the compost heap.
The growing season is over, and tired, withered plants must exit the stage.
Except, of course, for the encore of hardy greens, cole crops and root vegetables that thrive when temperatures dip below 40.
Inside, the wood fires roar, harvest perfumes mingle — apples, winter squash, potatoes, dried herbs — and cooking aromas entrance.
It’s a mixed blessing.