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The Worth of Weeds

A fallow season can refresh the soul...

As you can see, my garden didn’t flourish this summer. Neither did I.

Some years are like this. Blame Covid-prevention isolation, Covid-contagion isolation, the Blahs, Japanese beetles, too much grief, and languorous neglect born of debilitating humidity.

Though my lavender and daisies held their own, lettuce rotted and gave up the ghost by Memorial Day. In July the tomatoes vanished into quack grass. Potted plants didn’t have to wrestle with weeds, nonetheless lost rounds with Mother Nature: the pansies baked and the portulaca drowned. Even the Monarchs gave my milkweed a pass – though I had saved it just for them. Some years are like this. Just one of those things...

But the keyword here is “one.”

Now the weather turns brisk and energy returns. Now that I feel tip-top after a mild case of Covid, I regroup and write off one sad garden. Just one.

And I realize that these weeds can teach me a few things. Gardeners more proficient than I am routinely let soil rest, lie fallow, to restore itself. Perhaps this, the year of my non-garden, was time I needed to rest and restore my weary spirit. After all, neither soil nor I can produce all the time. I can only trust that this respite, however unplanned, will increase my writing productivity, will replenish my soul.

So I learn to trust the fallow times, even as they stretch into weeks and months. I take heart from the bedraggled pink geraniums that persist in the planter, secure in the knowledge that my sherbet-colored tulips slumber beneath the dying weeds, ready to emerge in April. I trust that creative energy will return in due season to my garden – and to me. The Ancients wrote, “To everything there is a season...”

I believe it. I'm ready. ###


  • Write about a fallow season in your life. What followed it?

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Dearest Gail,

I've been reading your experiences in Guidepost Devotionals for 3 years now and being a woman of a certain age was awake and up at 3:30am. I'm not a writer but a long time journaler. Your piece on "fallow times" certainly spoke to me and my garden. The Texas heat has finally worn us down. If what lives on my porch survives that's good. The outside beds and I are going to lie fallow for awhile and not fret.

Much appreciation for your gift, Donna🐝 & Buddy🐾


Michelle Facos
Michelle Facos
Oct 31, 2022

I hate to write 'we all' but certainly I have been there! It supports the Swedish adage 'there is a purpose to most occurrences' (det finns en mening med det mesta) that I find reassuring in moments when I feel 'behind'. Thanks for sharing!

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