November isn't exactly a month inspiring most to wax poetic. It's that dreary gray space between the wonderful reds and oranges of fall and the cool, crisp white of winter. It's also my birthday month, which tends to bring up personal melancholy (not related to getting older). But I love all seasons, and the changing nature of life, and upon reflection, I've realized two things, one trivial and one profound, about how small, unnoticed daily changes can add up to big results that kind of pounce on you one day (in a good way).
As a child, I was really annoyed that everyone else got better gemstones and flowers associated with their birthday months (I said it was trivial!). I coveted February for wonderful amethyst, May for emerald, and December for turquoise. But, no, November is topaz, that shade of golden yellow just like appliances of the time. I hated it, though I never got any topaz jewelry, so I don't know why it was a big deal! And the November flower is mum, which at the time were also always depicted in that shade of yellow I hated, and I wasn't wild about mums, full stop. The other day I realized that my favorite gemstone today is amber, which comes in the exact same shade of yellow I hated as a child and now love. I also realized I love mums in all colors and that they are the perfect flower for a no-nonsense person who has always loved fall.
I'd come full-circle without even realizing it.
I also realized something, completely out of the blue the other day, and it made me all misty: I love my garden! When I moved into my house seven years ago, it had lawn up the the house. I've been making and planting beds, moving and expanding and transplanting, so long that I lost track of progress. I still had the mindset of my garden being new and sparse and not as full and lush as I'd like (some early photos here). I have a pretty big property for a city lot, and not a truckload of money, so it's taken a long time for beds to fill out.
"Garden" has been very much a verb to me and it's exciting to see it afresh as a noun!
When photographing my garden for fall color, it dawned on me how many shrubs I have, and how wonderful their fall color is. I used to be very heavily into non-woodies and the transition to loving woodies (hey now, behave!) has been gradual and unnoticed. I still love non-woodies, too, of course. But realizing a huge amount of my plants were shrubs also explained why my spring-summer colors aren't as broad as what I see in others' gardens. I had always felt a bit was lacking in my garden, but now I feel abundance, gratitude, and warm fuzzies.
Then MrBrownThumb commented about the number of shrubs, which made me wonder just how many I actually have. I was surprised to discover I have 39 needled shrubs and 41 non-needled shrubs! Eep! None is huge, and some are quite small, but I was not expecting that count.
All this time, the garden has been growing around me, and I didn't even see it, especially not with my latest focus on buckthorn removal. And when I did finally see it, I almost cried because I finally realized how much progress I've made and how it's all come together, little bit by little bit.
And when I realized how wonderful the garden actually looks (especially in fall) and how much my plants have grown, and that I actually have something to be proud of, a physical place that anchors me and holds my own roots, I did cry. I've never lived anywhere as long as seven years since I was a child, and I've never had so much time with any one garden.
I've been working on personal growth for a while, too, and hope that, like with the garden, I've made more progress than I can see at any given vantage point.