Thank you Summer

A Different Road Taken


A friend said something to me the other day and it struck home. She said that it was hard to see our days unraveling in slow motion. That the accumulation of losses was the bittersweet theme of this stage of life: for our loved ones, our careers, and our businesses.


I’m thinking about that today, the last day of the last weekend of this summer.


I’m not one bit sad today.


But I know exactly what she is talking about.


So I went outside and stood in the garden right in front of my favorite rose bush. The rose that I pruned in February, and began feeding in March (due to the unusually dry and warm spring), and that I fussed over all summer for the same reason. The bush that gave me flowers for the kitchen and the bath all summer and that may or may not keep on going now.


Have you ever wanted your garden to be all in bloom all at once just for the thrill of all that beauty? I have. I’ve wanted to cheat nature.


But those of us who love the fruits of the earth know that it doesn’t happen that way. Nature holds all the cards and doles out the seasons.


Thank you Summer. Thank you for another year of beauty and grubby knees; of berries and beans, of sunflowers and basil (and weeds, can’t forget weeds.)


I’m standing stock still, barefooted, in the grass, and thanking summer. Because my life is changing in slow motion and I don’t know what tomorrow will hold for me and those people I love.


In a vase 2


Fall is coming soon and I can almost grasp the scents of this summer as it fades: the last BBQ, football tailgate parties, the musty smell of leaves after the rain.


If you have a chance, and the inclination, go stand barefoot in your garden….stock still….and listen, smell, feel.

Can you sense your life changing in slow motion? Today it is enough just to BE.


I’m joining in with Beth@Plant Postings and Donna Donabella with their Lessons Learned meme for Fall.




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  • How poignant and lovely, Susie! (Tears.) Beautiful photos, as well. You are very wise, and your gratitude is infectious. Thanks for contributing two posts to the Lessons Learned meme. 🙂 I loved your post about your friend’s farm, too.

    • Thank you so much Beth! I’m appreciate that you liked the farm post as well. I cried as I wrote this post on gratitude for summer. I knew it was a simple emotion, yet, I also realized that gratitude was an emotion that was/is maybe the purest of all the emotions. It can’t become its own opposite, you know? It just IS. I knew that this summer was hard for so many: farmers, firefighters, people without the basic necessities. Yet the earth always gives us its all. And for that I was so grateful.

  • unravelling in slow motion?
    I remember Anna telling me that as you get older your life gets smaller and smaller. Yet when I said goodbye as we moved away from Porterville she looked chirpy with a new admirer (despite the next chapter of life, in a room at the old age home)

    • I understand being very happy as “life gets smaller.” I think this is a time of tremendous spiritual possibility for people who want it, and are not afraid of a “stripping down.” Unraveling is a tough word. It would not have necessarily been my first choice, but when my friend said it, I understood it. I have lived a VERY active life, starting a company, living all over the world. Now, I want peace of mind more than anything else and I think the dissolving of fear about what that may look like *from the outside* is part of that. This is a time of great possibility–aging. Brava to your Anna. Doesn’t sound like she was afraid one bit.

      • Anna and I almost share our birthday, one day apart, a kindred spirit.
        She also taught me the expression – getting old is not for cissies (= takes courage!)

        My own mantra is – let me unwind, before I unravel.

    • I love your mantra Diana. It is, in large part, why I do this “stop” exercise…to all ow myself to unwind! Beautiful mantra, thank you. We have so much to learn from the older people we love. They are teaching us how to go forward I think. It sounds like you do have a mentor and a deep friend in Anna.

  • I am a bare-foot garden reveller. Always.
    On this side of the world we are lurching into Spring. She is flirting with us, spending a day or two with us, and then letting winter back in, but she is nearly here.
    And I am revelling in that too.
    I do love the circular nature of life. Always different, always the same, unravelling gently. As it should.

    • Dearest fellow bare-foot reveler! Of course, you are lurching into spring, that is always a surprise when I remember that. Soosie, you have phrased this so well. Unravelling gently, as it should. Yes. This is what gardeners know in their bones that so many don’t see. We see this circular nature of life and rebirth.

  • Most of my photographic life involves work about change, loss, love, and holds a narrative about what I know to be true. Nothing lasts. I am often in my garden barefoot. This lovely post reminds me of the last line of “Prince of Tides.”

    “It’s the mystery of life that sustains me now.”

    • I wish I could meet you in person Honey, we would have a lot in common in the way we love this impermanent numinous world. Thank you thank you for the line: ” It is the mystery of life that sustains me now.” I will treasure that.

  • Ah Susie, your post is like a poem of Gratitude and of being Here.
    Standing still, tuning in with the Earth for me is to ground and slow down, the place to be, rather than constantly following the winds of the mind, the thoughts robbing me of the present, anxious or hopeful for the things that may come.

    And thank you Summer! for all the good things (so many!!!) you brought along, for the long days of light and the fireflies, the swallows nesting under my porch and for my little baby fig tree who gave fruit in its first year.

    • I love your prayer for the summer! I will never forget the day you guided us–all 14 of us–in Qigong movements in my garden that summer. It was a moment in time I’ll never forget. The “winds of the mind” is a phrase I believe I will post to my forehead! Un grande abbraccio bella. Tu Susie.

      • Qigong in the garden communing with nature and your women friends, I’ll never forget that Susie!
        Un grande abbraccio anche a te.

  • How lucky I feel to have 2 posts for my meme, Seasonal Celebrations…if you don’t mind I will use this one Susan. I love going about the garden barefoot….earthing or grounding myself. Somedays it helps me to unwind instead of unravel so I love Diana’s mantra.

    And what a wonderful change to your blog. I have been thinking my first book will be a rewrite of the Seasonal Celebrations posts I have been doing for 4 years now…each season in the garden and in my life…how the 2 are entwined and the many lessons the garden and the seasons teach me.

    • Yes, Donna, please feel free to use the posts you like and that resonate with you. I love the work you do summing up for all of us the feelings we are having all in one place. I have a manuscript in progress of the process of aging with the seasons as the on-so-natural metaphor–now just putting one page in front of the other-:)

    • Hi Susan, so nice to see you here. I agree, the garden does all those things for me too. I’m often surprised how it mirrors my own changes. As I change, I hope I can be as neutral and quietly joyful about ALL the garden’s changes, even those that involve times of going still and “beyond the veil” as the Irish sometimes say.

  • I’ll try this again, Susie, and hope my comment will take….

    I never had a garden of my own to speak of, growing up, or in my many lives of adulthood. However, I have spent many an hour weeding and adding mulch, using a trowel or hand rake to dig/pull through Mother Earth. What I most remember is the quietness of my soul while listening to the “whispers” around me. There was always the sense of being “in touch.” So I totally get it.

    I love that from you and Donna both I get so many inspirational stories based on your gardening life!

    • Yes, it worked! I think I know what happened. Several people were logged in at the same time that you were trying to leave your message, and it just booted you out for some reason being unable to handle concurrent traffic. Thank you for visiting-:) Yes, you have a couple of us talking about our gardens, Donna and me. The beauty of what you have said is that nobody owns Mother Earth, so the garden didn’t need to be yours to get that in touch feeling. I love what you have said about “whispers” around you. Magic, right there…and maybe a few moles to boot!

    • Glad you liked the post Tammy. You’ve nailed my feelings exactly–we work so hard all summer long, now it’s time to let the garden give back to us. It’s the best teacher I know. Thanks as always for stopping by!

  • A very vibrant vase, Susan – defiantly declaring the summer is hanging on! So many inspirational thoughts in your post and in the comments too so thank you for sharing it all.

    • Thank you for visiting Cathy! I don’t always do your meme, but I always do the vase-:) We have wonderful inspirational thoughts in this group, they keep me wanting to write! Take good care Cathy. Susie

  • I love that idea and will go out and try it right now! I love your words and images in this post. Welcome autumn!

    • Cathy, that makes me pretty happy! Just to think of you—halfway across the world from me—going out into your own spectacular garden and standing barefooted….well, it’s just very emotional. Thanks so much for visiting! Bet you are getting ready for fall with some of your great recipes.

  • Lovely post and images. I am sad to see summer come to an end. Though, I really do love the Autumn colors. Have a happy week ahead!

  • a thought -provoking post, Susan – I often think that we don’t stop and reflect on life enough and the end of summer is quite a perfect time to do so. A lovely, vibrant vase too!

    • Hello Ann, what a very nice compliment coming from you, as I’m in love with your site. Are you somewhere on the East Coast? I would like to know who did your blog design? I’m so taken with it–and I’m also mad about hydrangeas. I have them everywhere, of all different varieties. Thanks for visiting and for enjoying the post. Those vibrant colors of the end-of-summer dahlias always get to me-:)

    • Hi Freda and welcome! I took that photograph in Vermont on a back road in October, 2003. We were just out exploring and “leaf peeping” and I couldn’t resist the feeling of the passage of time that came to me from that photograph. Thank you for your comment. Hope you’ll stop by again.

  • I think that fall has become a sad time for me.. The anniversary of my Mom’s passing and then my own cancer diagnosis. Having to stay in the house more leads to pondering. But I will be 60 on my next birthday and I think a lot about my life and what I can do with the time I have left. But the smiling baby I can look at fills me with joy…thank goodness for joy in our lives from what every corner they come… Michelle

    • Yes. I really understand that. Those anniversaries are just never the same. For me, it is the first week of July–when my little sister and my favorite cousin (who was like a daughter to me) died. Both way too young, and both very important in my life. Sixty is sure a milestone birthday Michelle and I hope you celebrate it well and with great joy! Blessings to you and to that sweet little guy that you share with all of us now and again. Susie

  • Lovely post. I do most of my gardening barefoot. I just like the feel of the earth beneath my feet and find that my shoes tend to get in the way. Autumn is my favorite season. As much as I love the joys of summer I love the slowing down of Autumn more. I am visiting from a seasonal celebration today.

    • Thank you for your visit! And welcome. Wherever you garden, it must be pretty fabulous to garden barefooted most of the time. I could do that in California, but not here! Summers though…..and now for sure. It is 75 degrees and very bright and sunny. I feel just as you do though, I am ready for the slowing down-:) Hope to see you again. Susie

  • Marisol

    Hi Susie, yesterday a friend posted a poem by Wendell Berry on FB, I loved it, it seems perfect for this time of transitions. This morning as I got up and looked out the window to a very wet world awaiting for more rain here in Virginia, I suddenly felt happy with no particular reason or doubt. I too am, can be a wild thing.

    The Peace of Wild Things

    When despair for the world grows in me
    and I wake in the night at the least sound
    in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,
    I go and lie down where the wood drake
    rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
    I come into the peace of wild things
    who do not tax their lives with forethought
    of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
    And I feel above me the day-blind stars
    waiting with their light. For a time
    I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

    • Wow. Just the title of Wendell Berry’s poem makes me feel contented inside. “I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought…” that is everything for me. Thank you so much, Marisol, for posting this. I don’t know this poem! How have I missed it? I think I will write that last sentence on my computer on a post it where I can see it each day. I’m glad you felt the grace of being a wild thing Marisol, for surely you are. Love to you bella.

  • Thank you, Summer. Yes. Taking off my shoes right now
    just because your words drew me into a place I needed to go
    and I stand here grateful and, like you, smiling finally at
    the “what is” with a heartfull of quiet yes. Yes and thank you.
    Ordered your book today….very much looking forward to holding
    it in my own two hands and feeling the thump of your heartbeat:)
    Peace you this early Autumn day,

    • I’m honored Jennifer, since your poetry often takes me to a place I need to go. That synchronicity is one of the very best things I love about like-minded friends. I’m also so pleased and grateful that you ordered The Beet Goes On–thank you so much! As you’ll see, it was a way for me to put some essays out there in advance of a larger book that I am working on. I really hope you like it. Let me know your thoughts when you have a minute. Peace at heart to you too beautiful person. Love, Susie

    • Ciao Elena, I appreciate your visit here dear Elena. Thank you. Hope the fall energy is fueling your painting spirit! I’ve been meaning to ask you: is your avatar one of your works? It strikes me as French and very alive, like one of Monet’s characters in a scene by the Seine, or a countryside picnic.


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