After a few nights of Frost making his hoary appearance, what was left of the garden requires some tender care. It's time to put the garden to bed.
I didn't buy any bulbs this year; perhaps I still have time. The later I put them in the beds, however, the later in the season blooms appear. Last year, I placed a few leftover Daffodil bulbs in the ground in February. They bloomed in July...pretty, but long past the time when their compatriots were singing Spring's song.
But what a beautiful day it was yesterday! Sun shone in a brilliant blue bowl. Leaves glowed golden against that heartbreakingly blue backdrop. It felt very spiritual; it was as if I was being visited by Spirits, who, as they sat on branches, lit the whole Tree with their golden light.
I rake leaves. These leaves look like jewels spilling out of a treasure chest, so bright with their Autumn plumage, it seems a shame to rake them into piles. But I need a blanket around some plants this year; I need the nourishment Leaf mulch applies to the soil. And the soil will also benefit from the Earthworms that will proliferate, as the Leaves break down.
It is rhythmic, raking...and as I go, I meditate...letting free flowing thoughts drift through my mind. Regular raking and Bird song, the crackle of the dry Leaves, the distant sound of a Soccer game in progress at the Park, with a deep grounding in the Earth, my feet planted firmly in the wet Lawn...it was what my Heart needed...
A comforting blanket of Leaves, one that will restore and balance me.
I hear the chittering of our newest resident...Squirrel. It seems to me his raison d'etre is to drive the Dogs into a frenzy. I can hear him laugh at them, way down on the ground, leaping and barking, trying so hard to reach this terrible threat to our safety.
I continue raking; the Dogs are easily worn out, as maturity finds its way into their being, and will soon resume dozing in Sun's warmth...still palpable, even in November.
I know I will have to rake again; there are many Leaves still clinging to branches, awaiting the arrival of another Wind Storm.
And so, after the beds are covered, I drag a few branches, trimmed from the Trees, out to be picked up by the Town's chipping crew. As I do, I notice, as any Gardener will, another chore that requires doing...and another...and oh, yes, over there!
But I take time out, to visualize and plan the new fence enclosure we are thinking of attempting some time soon. We will continue the fence line and enclose the garden shed and the recycling shed, with entry by large gates Graham is planning to build. It will give us much more space.
And much more room to garden.
There will be a Fruit tree...and perhaps a Nut tree, over there by the Hawthorn. I'm sure Squirrel would approve of that! And I plan to grow Sunflowers all along the fence line, which will give them support, as they nod their leonine golden heads at passersby.
I wander to where four potted plants have endured a Winter and a Summer, growing roots, becoming strong enough to take on the Rocky, Clay and Sand mixture of the top part of the garden.
I have promised them a home this Autumn. But I know the soil here is hard, unforgiving. I will have to amend it, with some sea soil I have left. And yet...these youngsters will have a difficult time of it, with their roots fighting Rock and Clay.
I have time to ponder whether I can even dig these holes. I may need a pick...and another pair of hands, another body.
I sense, rather than see, another presence with me, as I walk to where I left the shovel. And then the visiting vibrations become too strong to ignore...and I turn to see Hawk staring at me from the Berry structure.
He was young and curious. I held my breath...he was not far from me...I wanted to look at him, this youngster, as long as possible. He was very interested in me, as well...it still takes me aback as I discover animals are just as curious about humans as we are in them.
The staring match ended as he flew towards the forested area, and I was left smiling to myself. Hawk has only begun to show up with consistent regularity during the last few years. I have always held these Birds in awe; it is a comfort to have them with me.
As I begin to dig, scraping at the Rocks and scant Soil with my shovel, I hear a strange Bird call...an out of the ordinary Bird call. I lift my head, and there...just above me, on a utility wire, sits another Hawk.
And this one is a fully fledged adult...a Red Tail.
There are no mistakes, in this Universe, and so I stopped and leaned on my shovel, looking at his beauty, drinking in his Energy. His piercing gaze skimmed over me, his head never still, yet intuitively, I knew that he was aware of every minute particle of energy surrounding him.
He flies closer, still...this time to the top of the Ivy Tree. Again that piercing, rasping cry. I tell him...I realize you are King, master of your domain. I will not harm you.
Again his call. I do not understand birdspeak. I struggle, wanting to reassure him, not knowing how other than to send him pictures. I am not prepared for the pictures he sends back to me.
He shows me his habitat, with painfully clear acumen. I see forested areas, with logging cuts, with the Forest floor littered with logs and branches. In a split second, I understand he is showing me the desecration of his area...the area in which he usually resides. Now he lives here, he tells me, his range now shortened to the parkland in the Town.
The moment passes. I continue to stare at him, as he stares far off, into the distance. His voice...his unmistakable voice, one which Hawks usually use in flight, once again calling...and then he flies off, his mighty wings beating the Air.
My head spins, now. I sit on the steps, contemplating the visit. How unusual to see two Hawks, in a single day, I think. I muse over the visions I received...not so strange, when I see wildlife out of their element. What was unusual was the rapidity and the clarity of the pictures he sent.
Taking a deep breath, I continue to dig, scrabbling until I have holes deep enough to shelter the roots of these small bushes...Forsythia, Butterfly Bush, and Viburnum. They will shelter the smaller Birds, the ones that usually hover close to me as I garden...hoping for a Worm or two.
The plants are in, cozy and warm within the shelter of the Snake fence. I pick up my shovel, the pots that held the plants, and take a final look. My eyes are drawn once again to the top of the Ivy Tree, from where Hawk shared his message with me.
It is late afternoon now, with long shadows appearing. It is the kind of afternoon where a morning spent in raking leaves, cleaning garden beds, dreaming and planning a new Season, and communing with Hawks can leave me spent and satisfied.
It is the kind of day where raking ordinary fallen Leaves, tinted with magical colours, opens the door to a whole other World.
One in which Hawks reside, and Squirrels reign and Birds are Kings.