Noticing Creativity All Around Us
Taking time to pause in the midst of a season of fullness
We cut back the vegetable garden for the winter this weekend. The tomato vines were still mostly green and the last of the tithonia sunflowers had a few blooms but with the colder nights, everything was starting to look dry and faded.
Waking up to frost Monday morning seemed to affirm our timing to put the garden to sleep for the winter. In some ways I welcomed the cleared beds as I packed up stakes and pots, but there was also a lingering sadness in clearing the last of the plants.
This year I have been continually reminded that even as fall is a season of closing down and preparing for winter, it is also a season of astonishing beauty. There is beauty even in death and decay, in the end of a cycle of growth.
Clearing out a garden bed, I found these ground cherry shells, now completely cleared of fibers and leaving gossamer skeletons. I found a pair of monarch wings, just the main wings, detached from the body, likely by a predator that ate the insect. They flashed their brilliance amid leaves in the garden bed I was clearing. I set them aside on a fence post, but they kept floating down again on the wind, catching my attention with their brightness.
Each day, I am amazed at the colors in the trees. Different trees seem to glow with color for a week before fading. Just as I learn to look for a certain maple in a certain kind of light, I find that tree has dropped its leaves, and another is just beginning to take over the show of color.
As I walk, I’m amazed at the artistry of fallen leaves. The forms repeat with slight variation yet the color on each is like a unique painting. It feels like being in a museum where I can’t possibly take in the abundance of art in one visit. It is a fleeting beauty too as these leaves will soon dry and whither. That ephemeral nature invites me to be present; when it is impossible to take in everything, there seems to be more of an invitation to stay deeply with one thing.
I’ve been cultivating slowness and spaciousness as our natural rhythms slow in this season. I appreciate the beauty in letting some things fall away for a season.
I have also been returning to the wise words from Maxine Hong Kingston at the top of this page:
In a time of destruction, create something. A poem. A parade. A friendship. A community. A place that is the commons. A school. A vow. A moral principle. One peaceful moment.
-Maxine Hong Kingston
While I hope things I create contribute to goodness in our world, I am also aware that pauses to appreciate creation all around me are an act of presence and care right now. That might be the dried forms of plants in the garden, the wonder of a spiders’ web, good food prepared with love, a chance for a conversation with a friend.
How does this quote speak to you?
The image pictured at the top of this page is available as both a papercut and as part of a notecard set on my Esty shop.
I’ve been updating with octopus cards, prints and stickers, a few small octopuses, new labyrinth balls, and labyrinth touchstones.
You can see everything available in my Etsy shop. It is always helpful with shipping if you order early.
And I am thankful for all the support I have received this year from my Kickstarter campaign in January through sales in my shop, and a new opportunity to support my work through becoming a paid subscriber to this newsletter.
As we head into the holidays, I am grateful the abundance of this year allows me to strike a balance between some quieter reflective time as we settle into winter and the welcome opportunity to offer hand-made gifts.
With a grateful heart,