According to the calendar, Winter is still a bit over 4 weeks away, but my garden isn't waiting for the coming Soltice. Already, flowers are only a memory but for the white plumes of ornamental grasses that still dot my garden beds. My view fom the windows has returned to endless hills of russet and gold, more red as the rains come, returning to drab khaki under the dry sun.
It passed beyond, my garden, literally in the flower of youth, full of buds and promise, not at all ready for the end of days. An early, very hard freeze in October caught all these beautiful buds of 'Belinda's Dream' still loafing, lulled by the lingering heat from summer's warm soils. The night before the freeze, there was the promise of fushia buds clothed in green, the main masses yet to explode. One or two perfect young flowers greeted the last warm night, precocious to the last. A few days after the cold blew in, all was dropping and brown, changing color and form before my eyes, a green Eden reduced to sticks and crinkly underclothes; an exposed Eve, embarrassed and uncovered.
My garden rests now, slumbering deep in soil, trunk, and branch, waiting for the return of spring and the stirring of sap. I hope, for my sake and my garden's future, that the Mayans were wrong with their Long Count and that this particular 2012 Winter Soltice is not the apocalyptic b'ak'tun that modern doomsayers proclaim. The yellow 'Topaz Jewel' at the right, whose delicate yellow ornaments died unborn, deserves to reincarnate again in the coming Spring, a vain attempt to reproduce the beauty of the last. These beloved roses, it seems to this old gardener, reflect the women of his life, aging with each Winter, but reborn every Spring with vigor and blush and promise. Beautiful flowers for the gardener to caress and smell and touch and adore, ever young at their heart.