Garden Lullaby

Magic of California Autumn // The September Garden

It’s eating fresh-picked, late-summer blackberries on the first day it feels like autumn is in the air. It’s how you are soaking in the last vestiges of summer but enraptured by every gust of wind making a leaf flurry center stage. And you just there in the front seat.

It’s the first day you’re outside and the air around you has suddenly shifted. It’s the first huge rain that comes down in buckets and cats and dogs and every other rain idiom you can think of.

It’s the warmth of the sunshine, but the coolness of the shade. It’s how every last day in the garden is heightened in its enjoyment as the season slowly turns. It’s how long these lasts last.

This is the magic of California Autumn.

Summer hangs on tightly. Spring even seems to show itself. The bursts of life are so bright against the dying leaves now piling in the garden. Yet even these blooms, bright as they may be, have an older look to them.

The garden as a whole does not seem near as playful. California Autumn is a gentle thing. Not dramatc. Not rushed. Not swayed by our opinions or impatience. It changes when it does. Wraps us in sunshine. Finds us in the garden with a plethora of zinnias, barefeet, babies lying on colorful quilts and us lying in the grass.

The September Garden has been absolutely stunning. Even its abundance, it does not have the youthful blush of spring, but I wouldn’t want it too. It’s beautiful when framed by our little corner of the world about to storm. It holds its own as the year gets old and the leaves fall and gather.

Every color, every rose bloom carefully bursting, every last long and warm afternoon has an enchantment only to be tasted this time of year.

And we are full.

Full having spent a year wrapped in the blessings of the Lord, welcoming our second child, experiencing our best garden season to date, pushing our son in the swing for months on end, back and forth, watching him grow right before our eyes, cultivating life inside and outside the garden gate.

The magic of California Autumn is the beauty and excitement experienced within it despite the lack of pomp and circumstance. And the joy of autumn itself is gathering up the stories of your year and sitting within the goodness of God. Maybe not making sense of everything, but knowing with certainty that nothing makes sense without Him.

And here you are. Perhaps a bit like my September Garden.

Abundance and weariness. Blooming but not youthful. Radiant as you weather the storm and those yet to come. It’s beautiful here in a way spring can never attain. Beautiful in a way hard to explain.

So I’ll go barefoot in autumn and be smitten by the novelty of it.

A Happy Fall, indeed.

Garden Lullaby

Sometimes I’m Too Scared

The days are slowly getting shorter and while leaves are on the ground and we’ve experienced some blessed cooler weather, spring and summer lingers wherever it can in the garden.

I see it in my zinnias, in my rose bushes squeezing in every last bloom possible, the new growth on the tips, the wild grape vine heavy with grapes that make your face scrunch up tight.

September is a bit like April here.

The days can be almost perfect, but the window is short and can be sporadic. I’m soaking in every last long, gentle garden day before the world really does turn to fall and winter.

With the breeze, the trees swaying, the leaves falling and the music playing in the garden, it’s been stunning. To say the least.

It’s been in this magic garden season I taught my son how to lie down in the grass. Head down and everything. Like the green grass was your pillow. He didn’t know he could do that. He was tentative at first. But the marvel of it, his curiosity, and my persistence to help and show him how, won out.

So my rambunctious 2-year-old and I have been lying in the grass side-by-side and enjoying our lives. It’s been a highlight for him (and for me!). This new discovery of lying in the grass comes up in conversation at bedtime. He invites me to it when we go out to the garden. He just had no idea something like this existed. That grass wasn’t just for walking, but for lying down. For resting your head in it.

A flood of tears pricked my eyes when I recalled how similar I was to my son. Psalm 23. God makes me to lie down in green pastures. He is persistent I experience this rest and peace! I am laden with the cares of the world, crippled by fear, overwhelm, anxiety, or whatever it may be, but God shows me how to lie down. He helps me do it. Like I helped my son. Head down and everything. I don’t always know I can. I don’t always believe those green pastures are for me in whatever tiring season or painful thing I’m experiencing. Sometimes I’m too scared to lie down, to let my guard down, to embrace joy, to let it be happy or good, to be immersed in blessings.

But I am free to be a child.

To lie down, have a pillow made of grass, and my shoulders relieved of burden. I can spread my arms straight out, face the blue sky without fear, and be a kid. This is being in the presence of God. And God is with me always.

It is always safe to lie down.

Which is the poetic way of saying. . .safe to be, safe to enjoy God’s good gifts, safe to sleep, safe to share my emotions, safe to delight, safe to live in fullness and peace, though life may feel broken and misshapen, or on the brink of breaking. “He maketh me lie down in green pastures” is a beautiful word picture of God being a Father to us. And we are blessed when we let our hearts and souls be fathered by the Great I Am.

We are stiff and tired adults always learning what it means to be God’s children. And He is so good to us. Soon we find ourselves letting the sky be blue, soaked in laughter despite long nights ahead, at peace as though goodness and mercy follow us all the days our life. Oh wait, that’s right! They do!!

So we lie down in the green grass.

Head down and everything.


Parallel

laughter and This Is How!
Yes, even your head down in it!
two-years-old, and it’s a magic trick,

to lie down in grass
like this.
and we’re loving it,
this learning how,
such chaotic stillness,
Us
mother and son,
snowangels
in summertime.
then tears, like waves
on shoreline, gather, swell,
recede. I’m just like him.
I’ve done this before, over
and over again.
leaning back, brace for impact,
finding grass instead.
my heart beats home,
feels heavenward, oh,
peace!
so, it’s okay to laugh!
to lie down here like this,
head down
and everything.
me, a mother, a woman,
a child, me,
like this.
breathe!
“The Lord is my Shepherd;
I shall not want.
He makes me lie down
in green pastures.
He leads me beside
still waters. . “
My son and I in the garden.
September blue in the sky.
leaves I loved in flush of spring
waltz right off forever.
late summer meanders by,
and in this Parade
of seasons changing,
there’s no season
changing
here.
it’s Psalm 23,
Me Wanting For Nothing,
surely Goodness
and Mercy,
the Lord as my
Shepherd,
for all of my days,
for the Whole
of my Life forever,
breathe!

Garden Lullaby

The August Garden // A Happy Handful

There are a couple times a year that tend to be real time markers for me.

The New Year/My Birthday (January 6)

and August.

a friend captured this July moment and it was the last photo I posted to Instagram! Felt so right for this photo to close that account. hence you getting a garden update on the blog instead of an instagram reel!

August used to be a painful time marker, but then our son was born in the beginning of that month and my daughter has her own deep August story I shared with my email subscribers. Time doesn’t always move in the way we hope it will, but when it does, we let it be beautiful! We let our breath catch, our laughter out, our smiles makes wrinkles at our eyes.

I remember when my son was around 5-months-old, I took him out to the garden, sat him in the bumbo seat in the flower bed and did some gardening with him “afoot.” I thought to myself if I don’t start gardening as a mom right now then I never will! Being a new mom is quite the whirlwind. Figuring out how to do things you used to do is quite the task! I made that “used to” null and void every time I sat in the Porch Garden with him or figured out how to take him with me while I did gardening things.

And you know what?! I’m proud of that Sierra who got out there and got things done and figured it out!! Here I am now (still) gardening, still finding my way, and watching my kids love the garden. . . . all it’s joy & beauty.

my happy handful, blue boots belonging to my toddler and zinnias I waited much to long to cut! heheee!

Heidi loves to watch the water spray, and Shasta does his own chosen work around the garden. The other day he was quite persistent I water the plants, so I got my lazy self out of the ole plastic garden chair and watered the plants while he did his own version of watering. In the late afternoon he actually watered the sunflowers, and fairly well I might add! Dirt was watered too (duh! of course. mud, mom!), but the sunflowers definitely got a good drink.

yes that little blue house behind the zinnias is our garden playhouse😍 imagine vines! garden boxes! a mailbox?! lots left to do but it’s coming together😍

And let me tell you! We have had a bounty of sunflowers this year.

I could count on one hand how many sunflowers actually bloomed last season, but this year has been a stark contrast in the loveliest way.

I love when the sunflowers look wind-blown. My favorite part of sunflowers blooming!

Everything is leaning quite haggard now, but there are still sunflowers blooming. I’ve even sent friends home with sunflower bouquets and that has been such a treat for me.

this bouquet I kept for myself, though.😅

This bounty of the happiest flower has made the garden the bees knees. . .(literally!! it has been a hangout for the bees, and we love to see it!). I have so many sunflower seeds to harvest and while they bloom and lean and the bees buzz about, the zinnias are having their own heyday. I’ve had a lot of pinks and purples this year. Although the one you see with the playhouse is red!😅

Our hydrangea bush even sported the first bloom its had in years!! This hydragea has had a long struggle, but we gave it a new home placed it in a new spot, and the bush has said “thank you!” quite loudly.

If gardens can feel happy, ours has felt it. With wild grapes ripening, and rose buds preparing to burst again soon, zinnias growing strong, and sunflowers blooming steady, we are still maintaining a bit of the high tide that comes with May and June! That is quite a feat for August I think. But here we are.❤

a lovely tower!

In other news, we visited family in early August, and while there I wrote a poem about time, how it moves, and how good that passage can be. When last we visited I had been about 7 weeks pregnant with our son. Snow on the ground with me scared out of my mind. But fast-forward to present day, and I was watching my boy play barefoot in the backyard, two years old.

Time.

How good it can be, how lovely it can go.

Not always but sometimes.

And we don’t talk about those times nearly enough.

I’m sharing the poem below as it captures so much of August and my emotions for it.

Raspberries and Far North Roads

It’s a warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees,
Two years, 9 months ago
it was snow.

and he was seven weeks
and it was hard to breathe.
happiness, scared out of mind.

Down far north roads,
conversations with mom,
already celebrating
him.

And I was sick in the bathroom
and sick in bed, sick with worry,
and so in love,
already
.

But it’s late summer now,
an August birthday twice over
and he’s talking and playing,
and laughing, and running,
or skipping, kind of a mix
of both.

And I’m smiling and marveling
and we’re barefoot where snow
once lived,
but it’s us now, like this now.
and it’s beautiful when
Time
moves like that.

Raspberry picking and red
raspberry stains
on knees,
and I can’t get over it
how it feels to be back
when I didn’t know
Back would be so
good.
But he has a heartbeat,
and he’s moving
like crazy.

Warm breeze and
Bob Ross trees
soon.


The August garden is saying what I feel, bent over with the life of it, huge, inescapable, loud, lovely, flawed. Like the garden hasn’t arrived, neither have I.

And neither will we ever.

But we love the life we’re in. This one we’re given.

And like the sunflower I will be unafraid to bloom, bend beneath the life, loveliness, and imperfection of it all.

Here we are.

Garden Lullaby

Gardening with My Little One

Garden Lullaby, February 23, 2020

I GOT TO GARDEN TODAY! 

And nothing this side of heaven makes me so happy. 

I filled two 5-gallon buckets with overgrown grass, weeds, rocks, leaves etc & so forth. My rose bed is thriving (despite a goat attack!) but the winter has done its thing so putting my hands in and getting to work was nothing short of magic. I still have much to do and when the weather is nice I’ll be out doing it. I do have to remind myself I’m pregnant. And so things come a little less easy and I gotta pace myself.

Last year, I wrote down dreams for the future and one was to garden with my kids.

And today. . .I got to! Our little one is 18 weeks tomorrow. I wonder what our rose bed will be like come July when we welcome our firstborn?! Many more things to tell you. Don’t forget a new podcast episode goes live tomorrow and it’s goooood! That’s all for now!

(CAN YOU TELL HOW GARDENING MAKES ME FEEL?!?!)


The Days Before I Found Out I Was Pregnant

I’m Having Another Baby, a very unpoetic piece

Birth in Times Like These, poem