It was totally unexpected. I guess that makes it all the more real.
I was beginning to put the garden to bed for the year. Potted plants in the compost, rinsing out planting pots, and taking down hanging baskets, all have to be done before the snow flies. We are already getting frosts. I talked to the plants as I cleaned. I apologized for not being as available as I needed to be this summer. I thanked the plants for their growth, herbal leaves, and plant fruits that they managed to produce despite my neglect and the whacky summer weather.
This process began later in the day then I had hoped but I had morning obligations so I got a later start. I am a morning person so this late start meant I was already tired. I was starting to get grumbly. I was ready to be done sooner rather than later.
As I came back from the compost, it hit me. I wasn’t thinking about this process correctly. I, perhaps, should be thinking of this moment as a chance to say good-bye. I had said thank you, but not good-bye. Perennials will return next year, but will they appear in the same place? My plants like to move around on me. Several annuals would only return if I replant next year. How often do we get to say good-bye?
It might seem odd to say good-bye to plants, but why not? How often have we wished we had said good-bye to a friend or loved one? How often do we regret this lack? Saying good-bye or good rest to plants reminds us that all beings go. It is a practice in gratitude, respect, and letting go.
What if I hadn’t had this thought until after the plants had gone for the winter? Would I still be able to say good-bye or good rest? I believe the answer is yes. I believe the act of saying good-bye is as important to our own well-being as it is to put that respectful appreciation out into the world ether. There are people out there who have missed opportunities to say good-bye. It is never too late, even though it might feel that way at the time. A delayed good-bye will not feel the same as in person, but the act of doing so can be an important release.
Say good-bye or good rest, you and the world will be better for doing so.