I wake up every day and look out at the flowers and the leaves putting on their winter garb, and I get quite excited as winter creeps its way in. 

I, along with most of Seattle, listen to the weather report that rain is due momentarily, but I am disappointed in its reliability, and I decide to turn over and go back to sleep. However, that solution does me no good at all since I’ll miss breakfast and see “to do” piles grow higher and higher as I lay there. So I get my reluctant body up and prepare to spend the morning watering my garden. 

I was so sure I had finished watering for a month or more, but so much for that theory. 

When I reach the lobby, I am greeted with the news that it would be sunny for the next week at least. The weatherman has failed me.

My estate consists of the 8 feet of my deck, but for me, it’s the north 40, both emotionally and attention-demanding. I spend hours poring over catalogs and buying what Best Buds has on hand, weeding, watering, feeding, searching the planter for the first signs of growth. When growth appears, I feel like Luther Burbank, himself. 


Getting out and about

However, when such joy is impossible, I can go for a walk for a block or two or three, and I can admire such lovely gardens (oh, well, maybe next year I’ll leave my estate and I, too, will find a plantable patch). 

There are shrubs that hang on to a hill precariously. There are plants that are trying to win control of the sidewalk. There are dahlias that I wish I could raise in my 8-by-3-foot arboretum. And there are people who are happy to take time to tell a passerby like me just what that mysterious purple flower is that I saw in many gardens. 

I meander past the park and study where the fence is no more but the berries are flourishing — I think I’ll check with the parks department before I see how good they are. 

I walk home along East Madison Street, as I want to see the festive hanging baskets and look in on the various locations that feature works by the Madison Park Art Show exhibitors. Perhaps, I will treat myself to a new work of art: a painting of a garden or vase of spring flowers or a tree captured as its leaves are changing color. I am always impressed by the artists among us.


Coming back home

It is already getting dark. I decide to stop for a cup of coffee. 

I’m not attuned to this early darkness after long summer evenings. I can’t decide whether I will continue to work on my deck or cuddle up in front a warm fire. It dawns on me that I can do both.

I’ll continue my walk in the direction of my abode. I realize as I stroll that I am in too much of a hurry to take time to appreciate the lovely gardens in Madison Park. I just need to slow down and look around.

When I reach home, I finish my chores, harvest several plump tomatoes from my own garden, wrap myself in a shawl, settle into my favorite chair, read my book for about four minutes and fall asleep.

ROBERTA COLE, a Madison Park resident, writes about seniors’ issues. To comment on this story, write to MPTimes@nwlink.com.