Strange Days

Yesterday there was a strange quiet in the garden, an underlying quiet of great stillness.  In this quiet, damp-deadened sound of the voices of the birds singing was almost deafening; the volume was incredible.  As I looked around at the trees that surround my garden I could see birds of all shapes and sizes high in the branches.  I looked around for Tippy Hedren, but as she was no where to be seen I decided I was probably safe enough. Then, even more eerily, suddenly the birds all stopped.  The silence was complete for maybe 30 seconds, no more.
It’s a strange time of year: it’s the time of year when I keep thinking about the time of year.  It feels dark most of the time.  I see my front garden briefly as I walk to the car in the mornings, but it is too dark in the evenings.  Its like the back garden only exists at the weekends.  Where does it go for the rest of the week?  Does it only exist when I can see it?

I have too much time on my hands to think when the evenings are long, that is the problem.  Of course there is the endless planning for next year, I’ve worked out my vegetable beds rotation ready for the spring and I have all my seeds drying that I’ve collected.  I have my insurance cuttings hopefully ready to burst into life and I read garden magazines and books avidly hoping to finally catch up after the spring/summer weeks when I am outside rather than inside.

and the waiting – oh the waiting – I usually call the waiting ‘planning’, it makes it feel more productive, but really it is just waiting.

Of course its not really like anything has stopped.  It is just changing and moving into another phase.  The phase when the beauty in the garden changes to more skeletal, more ethereal qualities than just bold bright colour.
It is also the phase when the signs of life like the tips of bulbs just starting to show can cause rapturous joy.  It feels a bit like ‘in the midst of death we are in life’ to misquote horrendously.  Yet really, apart from the annuals, it is sleep rather than death.  The plants are planning (waiting) for their return.  (winter permitting of course).

At this time of year I wander around the garden at the weekends checking those signs of life.  Looking down to the detail of the buds forming on the trees, ensuring there are the latent signs of life for next year.   I rush out at weekends and do a bit more weeding in the hope that each weed removed now is saving time in the spring.
and there is the wondering, wondering whether the winter will be as harsh, when will the frost arrive, when/will we have snow?  I refer to my garden journal and consider what it was doing last year and the years before and look for patterns that probably do not really exist. 

Yes, it’s an odd time of year really, strange days.


  1. "It's the time of year when I keep thinking about the time of the year." How true! But it comes as a surprise, hearing it put into words.

  2. You capture this time of the year well but WHO is Tippy Hebdren?

  3. Catherine - Tippy Hedren was the femaie lead in the film The Birds :-)


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