Girl with a Watering Can by Pierre Auguste Renoir

There are small tomato, pepper and broccoli plants sitting in a box in front of my sliding glass door. In addition to several dozen marigolds, they are waiting for my mother to come by and take them (along with lots of good advice) to one of my nieces, who lives in New Jersey. I received them up from my sister last week and now am anxiously hovering over them, lest they die on my watch.

When my mom returns for a few days, we'll be digging up a part of the side yard to make a perennial garden. The thought of finding and owning foxglove, bleeding hearts, lupine, columbine and irises again makes me almost giddy! Back in the days when I had a larger plot of lawn, I dug (well, my husband dug) a good bit of it up into garden. But now that I have a smaller area, and not a lot of sun, I have to content myself with flowers, which is like saying I have to be happy with only dessert.

There's nothing like getting dirt under one's fingers during the spring. Edgar Guest, whose poems I've posted here and here, offers gardening as a tonic for what ails you. All the drama you could ever want, (take that, you aphids!) and more...

Plant a Garden
Edgar House

If your purse no longer bulges
and you've lost your golden treasure,
If at times you think you're lonely
and have hungry grown for pleasure, 
Don't sit by your hearth and grumble,
don't let mind and spirit harden.
If it's thrills of joy you wish for
get to work and plant a garden!
If it's drama that you sigh for,          
plant a garden and you'll get it
You will know the thrill of battle
fighting foes that will beset it.
If you long for entertainment and
for pageantry most glowing,
Plant a garden and this summer spend
your time with green things growing.

If it's comradeship you sigh for,          
learn the fellowship of daisies.
You will come to know your neighbor
 by the blossoms that he raises;
 If you'd get away from boredom
 and find new delights to look for,       
Learn the joy of budding pansies
which you've kept a special nook for.

If you ever think of dying and you
fear to wake tomorrow
Plant a garden! It will cure you          
of your melancholy sorrow
Once you've learned to know peonies,    
petunias, and roses,
You will find every morning         
some new happiness discloses.

Freedom from Want by Norman Rockwell

Thanksgiving has become as much about family getting together as it is about the turkey dinner and football. College students home for the break, grandparents coming in for the weekend, cousins and aunts and uncles fill the laden table. Edgar Guest's poem is a homey homily on enjoying the company of loved ones. His use of colloquial English makes us feel as welcome as any of the wanderers that find a chair at the old table.
Edgar  A. Guest

"Give me the end of the year an' its fun
When most of the plannin' an' toilin' is  done; 
Bring all the wanderers home to the nest,
Let me sit down with the ones I love best,
Hear the old voices still ringin' with song,
See the old faces unblemished by wrong,
See the old table with all of its chairs
An' I'll put soul in my Thanksgivin' prayers."

Note: My friend Robin Bates at Better Living Through Beowulf, tells me that at one point Edgar Guest was one of America's most known and loved poets. Unfortunately, unlike Norman Rockwell, whose paintings have taken on iconic status, he has faded from memory.

Have you had a pumpkin latte yet? Roasted vegetables? Pork stew? Apple Dumplings? As the temperature starts to sink, and our body yearns for some sort of consolation, we often warm our souls through comfort food (or music). In "Buckwheat Cakes," the poem below, Guest insists that "Every  season has its joys/Every day its touch of mirth", gifts to help us celebrate our lives. In this instance, a stack of buckwheat pancakes provides a comforting constant no matter the changes that encroach upon our lives.

The Youtube clip is of Nat King Cole singing "Autumn Leaves." The mellow tones, apt for the sense of loss that fall often brings (and the song specifically addresses), seep into the bones; like a steamy tub at the end of a difficult day, they soothe and relax. And if you're missing the "color," you can feast your eyes as well. So grab yourself a cuppa your favorite, and enjoy.

Buckwheat Cakes
Edgar A. Guest

"Now the frost is in the air.
Blue the haze at  early dawn.
There is color everywhere.
Old and ragged looks the  lawn.
Autumn's resting on the hills.
Harvested are fruit and grain,
And  the home with gladness thrills.
Buckwheat cakes are back again!

Every  season has its joys,
Every day its touch of mirth.
For us all - both girls  and boys -
God has well supplied the earth.
What if care must fall between
Peace and pleasure now and then?
Autumn holds this happy scene:
Buckwheat cakes are back again!

Time and trouble change us all,
Youth gives way to middle age,
One by one our fancies fall
Till we reach life's final stage,
But in spite of aches and panes
And the difference old age makes,
Man devoted still remains
To a stack of buckwheat cakes."