In other Decembers, the weather persists in being dark and cold and gray, and too many times it seems, this is exactly when all sorts of stresses and difficulties and worries appear, and the two together, the dark cold and the worry, conspire to make shadows that even decorations and all the other holiday traditions cannot banish.
This is when I find that I am helped once again by our garden. The garden is, of course, a mess at this time of year, strewn with leaves and the tops of dried summer flowers, and at the same time the bright green of winter weeds which apparently thrive with the same conditions that cause other plants to die back. On the other hand, there is now blooming an early jonquil that found itself in just the right sheltered place to send up its bloom stalk and give us delight. And other bulbs are sending up their leaves; the Dutch iris always come up in the late fall, at least around here. And newly transplanted iris are sending up tentative new leaves. The blueberry bushes, which gave little to nothing in the way of berries this last year, are nevertheless giving us some garden color, with yellow and gold leaves.
It is all a perfect definition of the cycle of rest and renewal that is simply the design of life and seeing all those renewals in the midst of the winter garden are so welcome and so very needed.