So………. is it just my imagination, or did WINTER show up just a tad bit too early this FALL? Don’t get me wrong…. I love the quiet season in Door County, but this is crazy! Even hard core DC lovers can be expected to get a little dramatic under these circumstances!

We are all used to the fact that on any given day here we may be gifted with the experience of living through all four seasons, but on Sunday, I think all four were happening simultaneously right on my doorstep.

Being a gardener, one must be attuned to and accept whatever comes our way. (I have noticed that complaining doesn’t change things, as the weather seems to have a mind of its own) With that in mind, and a full garden to put to bed for the winter, I summoned my trusty gardening partner in crime, Henry the golden boy, for a day of pulling out, cutting back, and taking down.

It didn’t take long for a little thought to start brewing in the back of my mind. What if it really does get as cold as they say it will? What if the soil in my window boxes and urns and pots gets frozen, and (gasp!) I won’t be able to decorate for the holidays with boughs from my woods? WHAT WILL I DO THEN?

Instead of losing it over this first world problem, I bravely changed my plans, whistled for the golden boy, and we took off into our woods for our eighth consecutive year of gathering primo boughs of spruce, cedar, and pine. Henry was more than happy to help by bringing his battered old stuffed toy, “Hedgehog”, who was MIA half of the time. (We would also have finished in half of the time if Hedgehog had just stayed home on the porch)

So, the window boxes, pots, wine barrel, and urns got real Christmassy/wintery looking pretty fast! Since I am NOT a proponent of early Christmas decorations, I found this a little disconcerting as well as embarrassing. I went so far as to apologize to my neighbor, who was actually quite lovely about it all.

Still…… it really IS too early, so the garden that I was supposed to be cutting back and taking down came to my rescue! Those sweet autumn cabbages got pulled right out of the ground to take center stage in each arrangement. Seed pods from the garden and meadow were cut and added, as well as the tired heads of coneflowers and Black-eyed Susans. Allium and anenome skeletons joined in with empty milkweed pods to tone down the evergreens, and the fall colors of recycled fern fronds and bittersweet berries added dark brown and orange to the mix. It was all very satisfying, and WAY more fun than just taking down the garden.

That was when I realized that I had all four seasons intermingling on my front stone steps. Sweet allysum from the summer is still blooming in the nooks and crevices along with some sedum. The forget me nots and wild daisies have reseeded and are bright green. The hydrangeas were dying off and blooming, all at the same time. Then, of course, there were the masterpieces that Henry, Hedgehog, and I put together before it SNOWED.

Being somewhat of an intuitive person, I usually pick up on (or sometimes create) my own little metaphors for what is going on in life. Just as my doorstep was showing off the seasons of Door County, I thought about how I was also a living, breathing mix of all of the seasons – past, present, and future of my life. I am still as hopelessly and shamelessly silly as a middle schooler. I try to listen to the positivity, empowerment, and dreams of the young adult that I once was, as well as being thankful for the wisdom gained from experience that can now intermingle with that enthusiasm. Then, unfortunately, to be brutally honest, I am getting a taste of the future from my knees that are a little bit more verbal than they used to be! Sigh…..

As always, I look over to my faithful companion Henry, who at 11 (77 in people years!), still has the heart of a puppy, the wherewithal to chase turkeys and tell them who’s Boss, the wisdom to pretend the turkeys aren’t there if he’s tired, and the limp of the sweet old soul friend who is coming – but just taking his time.

All of that on a Sunday afternoon……..to think you can start a job by dreading it and just wanting to get it ticked off your list, only to end up getting so much out of it, is enough to remind us all to keep calm and carry on.