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A Change of Seasons

Erin iler of Iler Woods Blog standing at the entrance of her homestead garden
Welcome to the Iler Woods Garden

After hosting multiple zoom class lessons this week, I went out to my garden on a hot Friday afternoon to escape technology. I had been daydreaming all day on harvesting my tomatoes, spying on my budding zucchini flowers, picking a bouquet of sunflowers, and plucking some mint out of the garden to place into a refreshing glass of water.

But to my dismay, I realized that the tomatoes were almost done with their season, the sunflowers had dried out, and my eggplant had taken a turn for the worse. . . why was the eggplant yellow when it was supposed to be purple? Everything looked a dirty brown to me, when three weeks ago, the garden was in full bloom with a rainbow of vegetables dangling from their stems.

Erin and her daughter working in the garden
Iler Woods Garden

I made my way through the garden, picking the last salvageable cherry tomatoes and the few jalapenos that had survived the 100 degree heat for the past week. I felt a moment of defeat that all of my hard work had gone to waste due to neglect on my part. I had been so busy focusing on my school work and being a parent that my “victory garden” looked more like a battlefield.

As I started to pull some weeds, cut back the vines entangled in my vegetables, I realized that life presents us with these moments when a season has ended. I remember hearing someone say, “enjoy the good times because you do not know how long it will last.” My garden was in full bloom a month ago, I was canning vegetables, making pesto, bruschetta, and cinnamon apples daily. That moment of glory had ended.

It’s challenging at times to get stuck in the moment when life feels like it made a turn for the worse, or what you had been hoping for maybe wasn’t what was in the cards for you.

I know that there are highs and lows in life and yes, the wave of happiness can also bring a tide of sadness or heartache. But, if we find ourselves not willing to make a change, then bitterness or complacency begins to take over. I firmly believe that it is okay to say goodbye to a season as well.

As my girls and I began to cut back the gooseberry plant, rake the leaves, and pull up the Bulgarian potatoes that never made it past the budding phase, we felt a faint breeze in the air. My daughter said, “Did you feel that?” I was so focused on yanking out the dead plants, I responded in a frustrated tone, “Feel what? Let’s get this done, it’s so hot out here.”

Erin Iler of Iler Woods blog and shop, harvesting tomatoes and apples from her garden
Erin and her Harvest

“It’s changing mom. I felt the wind. Fall is coming!” I paused for a moment, and stood up. I could feel the wind rustling through my hair. The girls started smiling and I realized that the seasons are changing. We started chatting about autumn favorites, apple picking, decorating the porch with Halloween decor, and yummy pumpkin recipes. We were laughing and giggling about past autumn seasons. I wanted to pause that moment because my girls are changing. They are growing up and life is presenting different challenges that we have to embrace and work through. But, on that late Friday afternoon in my garden, I realized that my children had taught me a valuable lesson: we all have the ability to have hope and adapt to change. You just have to give yourself the permission to move forward.

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