My garden, autumn 2014
When Keats wrote his opening lines in the ode, To Autumn, namely: “Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”, I wonder if he could have had any idea how many times he would be quoted; how many of us would look out on a misty moisty morning and think automatically of his wording that so lyrically expresses what we’re feeling. I am certainly one who thinks of his phrasing as I wander around my garden on a beautiful autumn morning with secretive mists brooding all around: a watery, silvery light amongst the golds and yellows of the trees.
My sobriquet is Naturelover, and I think of that name as it applies to who I am in the widest sense of the word – that is, I love all of nature, not just the nature that occurs in World Heritage areas or National Parks, although wild nature gives me the greatest pleasure. I adore trees of almost any kind …. and rocks, and flowers, and wide spaces. I love the foaming of raging sea, or a river in flood; I love to lie in my tent with thunder booming around me or light snow causing a deathly quiet.
Because I love nature, like many others who feel the same way, I chose a house with space – five acres – on the edge of town in what was then the country, so that we could have room and peace, and so I could have the opportunity to plant one of every tree that I love – be it indigenous or introduced. We have a view of the beautiful Tamar River and its island, seen through the framing of our trees, and although I have planted several hundred trees, I have managed to retain a sense of unoccupied space that I seem to need. Alas, part of this vacant space is due to my lack of skills as a gardener: too many of these loved trees have died. A certain amount of natural selection is allowed to operate.
Returning from last week’s four day walk, I felt somehow distanced from this other kind of nature: cultivated, yet not illegitimate because of that. I was entranced by the mist swirling through the remaining autumn leaves in the garden, and the veiling and revealing of the river below. It was time I spent just a little longer with this beauty and put in some home time.
I also had to drive my debaters to Devonport during the week. I felt as if I’d had an overdose of driving, and the forecast was for rain. I had several mountains I wanted to climb, but none of them in the rain – not that I mind getting wet, but I was in the mood for seeing a view this week. So, we stayed at home and just ran in Launceston Gorge, where you can have as good a workout as you wish without the driving, and admire rocks and river, moss and forest as you go.
I read my book, pulled out onion weed, mowed the grass, tilled the soil with my trident, smelling it to make sure it was sweet enough, admired the beginnings of daffodils shooting through the ground already and the plumping of buds on the magnolias even before they’ve lost their leaves. We sawed off some unwanted small limbs to allow more light into other areas and mulched what we’d sawn to return the goodness straight back into the soil. The dogs were very happy about our decision, and now I’m ready to go bush again next week.
Tessa, evening light