Waiting in the Rain (and Loving the Weather)

Photo by Hannah Domsic on Unsplash

I'm not a very serious gardener as of yet, but moving into an actual house this past spring opened up some possibilities for me to invest a little more in dreaming about growing things and cultivating our outdoor space as we do with the indoor.  Between wedding gifts and a church full of avid and generous gardeners, we soon found ourselves well equipped with a variety of containers, happily started plants, and abundant advice.  I set up a row of containers along one side of our yard and we got to enjoy some cucumbers, a few cherry tomatoes, quite a few peppers, and fresh herbs in everything.  

My dreams for next year involved rototilling up one side of the yard (conveniently partitioned off by the sidewalk.) We broke down cardboard boxes for a month or two and now have that space pretty well covered with a layer of cardboard weighted down with a motley assortment of heavy junk -- pots, Adirondack chairs, an old shelf that's destined for the garbage.  Many of our plants have come inside for the winter and are currently occupying a coffee table in the front room, with starts of other herbs lining the kitchen windowsill in little jelly jars as they grow roots.  

So now I wait.

The garlic and shallots planted outside need to wait through the cold of winter before they grow.  The cardboard needs months of rain and snow to disintegrate enough to get tilled into the ground next spring.  The compost rotting in its enclosure needs time to break down so that it can nourish the dirt (and the plants!)

Yesterday and today have been grey, full of chilly October rain -- the type of days that are perfect for hot tea and a candle and having all the lights turned on.  Although I can appreciate feeling warm and cozy indoors, it's not normally my favorite weather, but yesterday I realized that I was genuinely excited about it, because I've been hoping for rain to saturate the cardboard over the garden-to-be plot.

All of that made me think of one of my favorite parts of That Hideous Strength.

"We were just coming to see you," said Camilla.  "Look here, we have lunch with us.  Let's drive you up to the woods beyond Sandown and all feed together in the car.  There's lots to talk about."

"Or what about your coming to the flat and lunching with me?" said Jane inwardly wondering how she could manage this.  "It's hardly a day for picnicking."

"That only means extra washing up for you," said Camilla.  "Had we better go somewhere in town, Frank? -- if Mrs. Studdock thinks it's too cold and foggy."

"A restaurant would hardly do, Mrs. Studdock," said Denniston.  "We want to be private."  The "we" obviously meant "we three" and established at once a pleasant, business-like unity between them.  "As well," he continued, "don't you rather like a rather foggy day in a wood in autumn?  You'll find we shall be perfectly warm sitting in the car."

Jane said she'd never heard of anyone liking fogs before but she didn't mind trying.  All three got in.

"That's why Camilla and I got married," said Denniston as they drove off.  "We both like Weather.  Not this or that kind of weather, but just Weather.  It's a useful taste if one lives in England."

"How ever did you learn to do that, Mr. Denniston?" said Jane.  "I don't think I should ever learn to like rain and snow."

"It's the other way round," said Denniston.  "Everyone begins as a child by  liking Weather.  You learn the art of disliking it as you grow up.  Haven't you ever noticed it on a snowy day?  The grown-ups are all going about with long faces, but look at the children -- and the dogs? They know what snow's made for."

"I'm sure I hated wet days as a child," said Jane.

"That's because the grown-ups kept you in," said Camilla.  "Any child loves rain if it's allowed to go out and paddle about in it."

The idea of liking Weather has stuck with me for years.  (I'm always fascinated by ideas of enjoying life and all of its wild parts more.)  It was a sweet realization yesterday to find that I was actually so pleased for the cold, steady rain, because I'm looking forward to the garden to come.  

Photo by Priscilla Du Preez on Unsplash

Andrew Peterson was sharing about his song The Rain Keeps Falling during the online conference Hutchmoot a couple of weeks ago (shameless side plug: Hutchmoot access is available till November 15 and only costs $20!) and how he wasn't sure how to end the song with its imagery of depression and relentless rain... until he saw a different perspective.  

My daughter and I put the seeds in the dirt

And every day now we've been watching the earth

For a sign that this death will give way to a birth

And the rain keeps falling

Down on the soil where the sorrow is laid

And the secret of life is igniting the grave

And I'm dying to live but I'm learning to wait

And the rain keeps falling.

What has given you a different perspective?

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