Hope, Despair, the Seasons

It seems counter-intuitive to plant and transplant when the leaves are falling and winter is headed our way, but experts say, autumn is the best time to do this. I find this  inspiring. Just when plants are fading, turning black and collapsing into the earth, we hopefully settle our transplants into a new patch scratched in to the soon-to-be-frozen earth. How do they make it through the winter?

Yesterday I moved a little pine tree that had gotten lost under the bullying boughs of the neighbors’ forsythia. It was easy to dig up – pines have shallow roots, that’s why so many succumb to storms. This is the only survivor of a pair Bosnian Pines I planted about 2 years ago. There was something so Charlie Brown’s Christmas-tree-like about them, I couldn’t resist. And the fact that they are Bosnian.

Can’t you imagine the wind relentlessly blowing through the needles, pulling the branches so that even in stillness, you can feel the mountain gusts?

We had a serious frost the other night, shutting down what was left of my relatively sad garden season. I retrieved the few green tomatoes and packed them away in a brown bag with the hope they might ripen. The basil and dahlias turned black. Good thing I retrieved this lovely beforehand.

As I was saying about inspiration — although this year was rough in the vegetable patch — with voracious furry and slimy creatures gobbling up the good stuff and tomato plants that grew huge and bushy but yielded few tomatoes — transplanting the little pine and a sage, I imagine next year. I notice the blueberry bushes – mostly just sticks these past seasons – have grown and filled out to be fine bushes. Next year, maybe I’ll get more than a berry or two.

See? My despondency about my garden losses is fading and I’m already starting to feel hopeful again about the future. Nurturing my Bosnian pine, keeping an eye that the needles don’t begin to crumble, can remind me that it is possible for hope to win over despair. Then, soberly, I realize this a luxury of my peaceful life.

I recall my short stint with the UN in Bosnia during the war, the winters of despair. Comparisons have been made to Syria — the world watching civilians get bombarded in their homes. Children maimed and killed. I will not pretend to have a solution — but I have a sense, a remembrance of the spirit crippling despondency of isolation, the sense that no one cares. A memory of biting cold winter that seems impossible to survive.  I will watch my transplanted tree carefully, remember and hope.

4 thoughts on “Hope, Despair, the Seasons”

  1. Beautiful dahlia! I hope your Bosnian pine does well – if I were you I’d give it a good thick mulch to protect it – sorry to get all gardeny on you, but it’s mainly deciduous that are moved during the autumn/winter, evergreens in spring…

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