On Putting the Garden To Sleep


We sweep the walk one last time, gathering up the birch leaves — a deep yellow — and the beech leaves — a magnificent, burned orange — before tossing all of them over the wall into the vacant lot next door. The wrought-iron table and chairs we place under a tarp; we bring the candles down to the basement, where we set them next to the towers of terra cotta pots and bags of soil, the very sight of which (like so much of our past) is exhausting to consider. Is it possible that we ever had the energy for so many new flowers, so many trips to the nursery? Well, we won’t worry about that now: it’s winter, and still the city pounds beneath us, oblivious to the changing seasons, tempting us with thoughts of renewal.

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