The End of Our Year

March 19, 2011

The eve of spring, the last day of winter, the end of our year.

This morning, everything is ice-bitten, rimmed with rime, hushed with hoarfrost. The roof sparkles, the leaves glitter, the sprouts shine.

It is so – – – perfect.

It is the ideal way to end this year, as if the garden gods know what I’m doing and are giving me a perfect poetic juxtaposition of winter and spring. A chill in the air, but behind it, sunshine. No trace of that hyacinth still, and the daffodils are definitely behind, but yesterday the sparrows were moving nesting materials into the birdhouse – they are early.

This year, I learned that my little suburban plot of land is a place of astonishing wonder and excitement, if I only open my eyes. I learned that the spectacles of new life, wild sex, extreme violence and crushing death play out, every day, in this very small space. I learned we share this spot with an overwhelming number of living creatures and, while we may have the most commodious home and pay the mortgage, they are symbiotic neighbors, vitally important and necessary. Their lives begin and grow and changes and die with not a thought about humans – we are beneath their notice. We are not as important as we believe. I learned about soil and leaves and Damn Rabbits and grasshoppers and milkweed and milkweed bugs. I learned growing patterns, composting, lawn care. I learned that January and February are not at all quiet in the garden – that there is tale to be told on even the darkest, the coldest, the deadest days of winter.

I learned (because of the massive hours I’ve put into this project over the past 365 days) that my husband truly does have the patience of a saint, and supports me beyond my wildest expectations. His love surrounds me – each and every day. I learned that my kids (oops – my adult children) support me exquisitely. I learned – oh so very happily – that Dominic will truly be well, he will survive and thrive and grow and mature and be happy. My heart is now at peace for him – I can breathe, normally, after many years. I learned – joyfully – that Eliza is ready – ready for the next step, ready for an immersion into what she loves best, ready to begin to grow into what she is meant to be. Her intelligence, her talent, her belief in herself and in others is incredible to behold. I am so thankful for their support.

I learned how the love of gardening reaches across age spans, across the state and the country, across cultural spans and neighboring yards. Through this adventure, I made good friends who will last a very long time. I am thankful for everyone who has followed this particular journey, family, friends and complete strangers, giving me kudos and feedback, encouragement and comfort. I learned that setting a very ambitious goal and seeing it through is not as insurmountable as it may seem – as long as we take the steps, each and every day, to reach that goal. I learned that completing ten weeks of Master Gardening classes while working a full time job makes you want to sleep for a week when it’s all accomplished.

Another perfect gift – a robin, plump and rosy, flies up into the pin oak as I head around the corner. I have seen the doves, I have seen sparrows and juncos and I have seen dozens of robins around the neighborhood, but I have yet to see one in my garden – until today, this last day of winter. Her breast is that red-but-more-rust-really-if-we’re-being-honest-with-ourselves and she sits now on the fence, fluffed against that nip in the air, eyeing me distrustfully. As I creep closer, step by step, to make a better photograph, she flies away, step by step, always outpacing me, never allowing me to gain so much as an inch.

This year – spring, summer, fall and winter – is finished. Spring arrives tonight, with a “super” full moon to herald its arrival. Beautiful things are behind us and beautiful things await us – this new year and every year – if only we take that moment to look, to listen, to smell, to touch, to enjoy. Relax, stop and enjoy. You will see and learn so very much.


Thank you for your kind attention, for your time and for your interest in this journey. I hope you have enjoyed it, because for me, it was an absolute, life-changing blast. Many readers have enjoyed it and have encouraged me not to stop just because my year is over. Because of this, I will continue, though not at this consuming, intensive pace. After April 15, you can find new postings and musings at


One Response to “The End of Our Year”

  1. Connie Walencik said

    Rebecca, congratulations on completing this journey and reaching your goal! I have enjoyed reading. All the best on your next undertaking. I plan to check it out.
    Love you,
    Aunt Connie

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