Friday, November 4, 2011

Life lessons from castor beans and falling leaves

The leaves are coming off so fast now.  They deposit a yellow carpet on the ground beneath our maples that turns brown in a day or two. 

My impatiens have been bit by frost and look devastated.  Ditto the castor bean plants planted at the edge of the garden that were supposed to repel moles.  They stood strong and vigorous just a few short days ago.

As the natural world prepares for a long winter’s nap, I feel oddly at peace about it.  There was a time when I’d have complained about how everything looks so dead now.  The dying back of flora and fauna can seem depressing. 

But as I walk around outside, I’m realizing that this is really seedtime.  All those castor plants will soon begin to pop ripe seeds loose when the sun warms the pods in which they are housed.  On warm late fall days, you can literally hear them—they sound like popcorn. 

 The seeds will fall on the ground and many of them will sprout come springtime.

We’ll have way more castor beans than we need and will most likely have to plow some under and chop some down.   

We’ll mow over the leaves on the ground a few times, and they will settle into the grass to decay, where they will begin to fertilize next year’s lawn. 

Nature teaches us so much about life.  The end is only the beginning, and life is nourished by death.  I can be at peace with fall because I know springtime comes. 


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