Day after day of rain: sometimes constant (half a month's worth in one day) and sometimes an hour or so here, an hour or so there. Combining these together means the garden that spent months of this year drier than dry is now soggier than sog.
The jobs that need doing are piling up. I can hear the weeds laughing at me as they continue to grow whilst learning to swim. For days now the air has been that damp cold, the type that bypasses your clothes and seeps quickly into your bones. My hands seem to feel the cold first. I know my circulation is poor and I have Raynaud's syndrome, thankfully not too seriously but it is annoying. On a cold day my fingers will drain of colour and I lose the sense of touch. Trying to shake the blood back into them makes me feel like I am doing something but I am not sure that I really am. I have had this condition for as long as I can remember but it particularly came to notice when I started driving. It does not affect my driving but it is painful and a little worrying to watch the colour drain from my fingers; thankfully it is usually only one or two fingers, it is never all ten. Whilst thinking about this and checking I was spelling it correctly I wandered into the hellish layers of internet medical pages. I am now watching out for gangrene.......
Anyhoo, the rain is the thing at the moment, the rain that we need, the rain that has refilled the pond, but makes underfoot a quagmire of squelch and ooze and mud. The soil structure gets compacted with each step I take. I am trying to keep off the borders when I can get out into the garden, yet there is so much to be done. I am like the White Rabbit, but instead of constantly muttering 'I am late, I am late', my constant refrain is 'so much to do, so much to do'. I need those crisp dry days of winter, not the frozen crispy days, but the dry crisp days where the sun shines without giving heat but brightens the soul nonetheless.
The soil is getting colder and colder, the chances to plant out new plants/trees/shrubs is disappearing by the night. We have now had a frost or two but the main frost season here is in the new year. I don my winter gardening gloves, waterproof on the outside and fleecy on the inside. Cold damp earth does nothing for my circulation, yet being outdoors getting things done on these dullest of days is still a joy and so much better than sitting indoors and listening to the rain.
Many non-gardening people I know seem to wonder at what I can be doing in the garden in winter, somehow believing that everything stops at some magic pre-determined time and reawakens around-about Easter Monday. For me maybe these autumn/winter days are the ones I treasure most. The short days and long dark nights are a challenge for me so that absence of light means the hours that we have are precious. I should be used to them yet each year I dread them returning. The annual period where I do not see my garden in daylight from weekend to weekend is one I find very hard. I cannot wait for Saturday morning when I get out into the garden and see what has been happening all week. I walk the garden: it is the process that matters not the distance or time. I will at times just stop and breathe. Just pause. Just let the garden and myself be. No matter how busy the week has been, no matter how stressful or what is trying to bombard my mind with stuff, so much stuff; I will pause, I will pause and my feet connect me a little deeper into the garden and direct the peace I need throughout my being. The smell of garden, the damp oozy, a little sluggy at times, smell, settles me. The earth which is cold and wet and yet on a good day friable, encourages me to reach into it. The removal of each weed releases a tiny moment of its scent and I breathe it in. This gardening fix will keep me going throughout the next week. Without it I start the week still frazzled from the last, but gardening time will sort me, it will fix me.