I was pushing away the locust and ash leaves that had fallen on a patch of my garden. The leaves were just the tip of the season, the latest in the layers of the year.
I moved a little deeper, staying just in one place, going past the stalks of the violet phlox that had bloomed here in August, and the old seed pods of the orange day lilies that had flowered in July, past the the ectoskeleton of a cicada from late June.
The rain of the previous day had compressed the summer into strata, and the further I went, and the more layers I uncovered, the deeper I groped my way back in time. I found the hardy creeping Charlie of May, still green and strong, and the pine chip mulch with which I covered some black ground cloth – both the mulch and the cloth useless against the weeds.
Beneath those flimsy barriers, I found roots of the crab grass that had run wild through the bee balm and the salvia and the daisies. And then several ants, one millipede, one red worm.
I felt a little nostalgic as an archeologist in the garden space, the recent events of my life seeming to pass before my eyes and through my fingers, to be lost in the decay of countless other lives.
Of course, when I dug just a little deeper, the sadness disappeared. Two crocus bulbs were pushing toward the surface. When I went deep enough, I found spring.
This is Bill Felker with Poor Will’s Almanack. I’ll be back again next week with notes for the third week of middle fall. In the meantime, dig a little deeper. It’s all there for the finding.