The Gift of Leaves


It was early December, but we had not had a bit of cold weather. Most days the temperatures would still rise into the 70s. Christmas decorations had been brought out and brightened many homes, yet it felt as though winter was still far away. In fact, the property where we were working was abundant with blossoms and foliage. I was still able to harvest one of my favorite snacks from my client’s garden. So many cherry tomatoes were cascading over the stone walls, I could wrap a few of them in fresh basil leaves and none would be missed.

We still had a lot of work to do to prepare for winter. I had a crew of three men with me, and they were diligently cutting back the tall grasses that were overtaking some of the paths down to the lake. I worked on one of the upper terraces where the rosebushes had grown very tall; I needed to bring them down to a height that would not obscure my clients’ view. It had been a remarkably long growing season.

A majestic Spanish Oak tree was growing halfway between the garden and the edge of the lake. It was very old, and so huge that its largest branch could support the massive six-foot wind chimes we had hung there. These chimes were quite magical because they were harmonically balanced. Even in a gentle breeze, they could offer up beautiful melodies. This was a windy day, and the music they played was mesmerizing. Since there had been no cold weather to tell the tree to drop its leaves, it was still covered in foliage. Spanish Oaks are renowned for their magnificent fall color, but without cold temperatures, the leaves had turned from green to brown. Each time the wind blew, the dry leaves would begin to rustle, a prelude of sorts, to the song from the wind chimes. I smiled, it was as if I were enjoying my own private symphony.

from my new book, The Seventh Season: Wisdom from the Garden of Life

remember, goodness grows,


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