What meaning is there in life but to improve ourselves and then strive to help others?
Our social systems in this so-called modern era are focused not on improving ourselves, but on making ever greater material gains. We’re taught to ignore our true inner needs and told we’re selfish if we don’t ignore them, and at the same time we’re trained to satisfy ourselves by focusing entirely on gaining status with stuff.
But what does material stuff do for our souls? Absolutely nothing, other than deteriorate them to destitution.
Summer is finally over!! (Apologies for my glee to all of you summer lovers.) Now I can get back to my writing schedule without falling asleep before I can write even a single sentence. Summer is a time for intense activity and, due to the heat and landscaping all week, I had to stay intensely active to stay awake.
Gardening is one of those intense activities. After weeding most of the summer, we started to harvest the garden several weeks ago, long before landscaping season was over, and we’re still at it. I love the harvest. We’ve prepared and frozen broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, Swiss chard, kale, rhubarb sauce, and Nanking cherry sauce and grated zucchini from the garden and filled one freezer. Sue brought us two boxes of peaches from farmer’s market in California; we sliced and froze one box and made peach sauce, which we canned, out of the other box. We also canned apple ketchup, apple sauce, Chokecherry sauce, pickled beets, salsa, chili sauce, and dill pickles, also from the garden, so the pantry’s full. This has been a better year for harvest than we usually get, which means it was more work, too. But as soon as we get the beef in the other freezer we’ll be completely ready for winter.
Not that I’m anxious for winter. I love winter, but I’m not anxious for it. Autumn has always been my favorite time of year and it could last for six or eight months as far as I’m concerned. I love the vivid colors and the cooler temperatures, the sleepy landscape. I love spending time outside harvesting the root crops and clearing the frosted and dried debris out of the garden to let it rest until next spring. I love watching the compost pile grow. I also love planting, around the border of the garden, the seeds of bushes and trees I’ve collected over the summer in hopes that next summer they’ll sprout and grow and eventually add to the harvests and autumn colors around here.
Autumn is a time for slowing down a bit, enjoying the landscape, contemplating, daydreaming, remembering, hoping. Despite all the denial, lack of recognition, and dragging our feet, Ben and I are in the autumn of our lives. I can’t say it feels any different than the spring or summer felt, other than it hurts a little more and is a little harder to do a few things: we can’t run as fast, jump as high, or hoe as long of a row. But from the inside, with a dash of denial -- and looking out to anywhere except the mirror -- it’s difficult to tell the difference. Perhaps that’s why we humans try to deny it happens.
Sure, as I’ve said before, there are a few things I’d do different if I could do it all over again, but I’m certainly enjoying the outcome of what I did do.
Here are a few pictures showing the glory of summer now past and the peace and quiet of autumn around our place.