For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven.
I chop Swiss chard, picked from the garden an hour ago. And tomatoes, assorted heirlooms that have been ripening on the countertop in the laundry room for weeks—sorted through every few days, the ripe ones chopped and used in a supper dish or tossed in a bag in the freezer. There’s only a handful of green ones left now.
I snap off a chunk of chopped garlic from one of the flat pancakes I made with this year’s harvest, and tucked away in the freezer a month or so ago, and add it to a bowl of chopped onion—the onion being only ingredient not from my garden in this simple sautéed dish.
I stopped growing onions. They’re dirt-cheap to buy, and take up valuable space in my garden. I commandeered Gerry’s knife skills in late-August to chop up twenty pounds or so from the green grocer; they’re tucked away in the freezer now, and will see us through the winter.
As I stand at the stove, stirring and adding handfuls of Swiss chard to the hot pan in which I’ve sautéed the onions and garlic, and added the chopped tomatoes, I’m struck with how colourful and pretty the concoction looks. Chock-full of antioxidants and flavour, it is a perfect accompaniment to the delicata squash and salmon roasting in the oven.
It’s just a simple supper, but preparing it makes me happy. Content. It brings to mind the expectation with which I dropped tiny seeds into the ground so many months ago, the satisfaction of months of tending my garden, and the readiness with which I cleaned it out at the end of the season, weary and ready to move on to other things.
Now it is autumn. October winds down, and November looms, bringing with her the beginning of the dark months—the months I long dreaded, but now lean comfortably in to. It’s a poorly disguised metaphor for how I’ve come to embrace this season of my life—cliche, but there it is nonetheless.
In time, even the splendour of fall becomes too loud; I’m sensing twinges of that now. I’ll welcome the winds that blow as the trees grow bare. White will fall from the sky and blanket the messy ground, leaving it pristine. It will grow quiet.
But not yet. Not just yet.