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FIRMLY PLANTED ◽ ENCOURAGEMENT

The end of the year is probably the messiest time for a Texas garden, at least in my garden. Half-dead heat-loving vines cling to trellis and fence for life, and leaf litter is all over: paths, pots, and patio. Fall comes late, so leaves are still falling in December. No use raking them until they’re finished.

Weathermen predict it will be a warmer and dryer winter than normal, and it seems they’re half right, although, technically, it’s still fall. It’s been warmer than usual, but we’ve had lots of light steady moisture, perfect for plants; they’re soaking it up and loving it. This is not a complaint, simply a fact: if there’s anything messier than leaves, it’s wet leaves!

The fall colors have been exceptionally beautiful. I have no idea why, and I suppose it doesn’t matter. The layered mosaic of leaves lying on the ground is almost mesmerizing, a representative collage of all the previous year’s delights and disappointments. Soon, they’ll be gathered up into bags or compost bin, leaving a clean garden slate for next year, much like the practice of year-end soul searching.

Speaking of soul searching, I think I’ve grown up a bit. Leaf litter used to bother me. Pinterest pictures of perfect gardens with pristinely arranged rocks; overflowing succulent containers; and creative, uncluttered pathways stirred up the envy monster. Complaining inwardly, I wished all kinds of silly things:

ENCOURAGEMENT - jan 2023 - firmly planted - leaf.JPG

Why can’t we have California weather, why do my trees have to lose leaves, I wish there were no squirrels, etc.

I began to realize my attitude carried over to my personal life:

Why can’t things be smooth, if only people would listen to me, things would be better IF.

 

“REALLY?” says God.

 

“SO I’M NOT IN CHARGE HERE, NOT DOING A GOOD ENOUGH JOB?”

I don’t mind leaf litter so much anymore.

The garden has been God’s instrument to teach me that I can’t control wind blowing, leaves falling, excess heat and cold, plants that just die, and a thousand other perils that “mess things up.” Just like I can’t change people, convince them to think differently, prevent pain as lessons are learned, make them choose wisely, and so on. The leaf mosaic randomly strewn across my garden, sometimes beautiful, often not, is an inescapable part of this messy life. Peace comes from knowing God is in charge and I’m not, and I’m good with that.

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Leaf Litter
by Dina Cavazos
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