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031Nature recedes behind her cloak of darkness bringing dusk earlier each night. Sunlight seeping through the clouds falls at a parallel angle, warming almost nothing. A wan glow during business hours starves this working woman of hope and vitamin D. Glimpsing chard on the path to the car every morning, I promise myself I’ll get it harvested. Coming home in pitch black, I betray myself and run inside to seek heat.

059Fred the Puppy enjoys this time of year. He’s actually a cat, but his charming disposition earned him the nickname Puppy about two weeks after he was born. Cats seem to have the right idea about winter: find a warm spot, curl up, repeat. Fred has become blind, and he likes to prowl in circles around room perimeters when he isn’t napping. Consequently, he bumps into things. A lot. He also sits at the big window looking out at the garden as he’s always done; but since he’s lost his vision, he sits there when it’s dark out, or with the blinds closed, or stares at the adjoining wall thinking he’s looking out at the garden. No matter what his condition, he knows there’s a garden out there, and “looking” at it is still part of his life.

We garden by faith this time of year, not by sight.

044With the black veil of winter swathed over us, we turn inward. Perennials retreat underground, evergreens cease growing and hold steady in the cold, a dormant chill overtakes deciduous shrubs, grasses, groundcovers, and late planted vegetables. The chard is out there, but it’s not growing. The world is out there, but it’s fallow. Retreat seems more sane than shopping.

013I’m not against holiday traditions. I’m against pretending darkness doesn’t exist.

010With Winter Solstice a few days away, lighting a candle or enjoying some twinkling Yule Tree lights reminds us the world will start awakening again soon. I’m fortunate (or wise?) enough to keep my holidays calm, uncluttered, unencumbered by extensive obligations. I’ve chosen to live this way. I’m pleased with the Pink Garden’s winter interest, and caught a picture one brief, sunny afternoon:058

Just looking at this reminds me of all the work I’ve got cut out for me gardening in the spring and summer, especially if I keep on track growing my own food. So let the chard wait. Winter can keep her curtain of darkness pulled over us for a few more weeks, inviting us to rest and recharge for the burst of energy we’ll need in the spring.045

Darkness holds us in her embrace, as we should hold those we love close when it is darkest. Cherish the respite, and the private time you have together. The sun will come crashing in soon enough.006

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