January 1st, 2011


fallow 1 |ˈfalō|
(of farmland) plowed and harrowed but left unsown for a period in order to restore its fertility as part of a crop rotation or to avoid surplus production; incentives for farmers to let the land lie fallow in order to reduce grain surpluses.
• figurative inactive : long fallow periods when nothing seems to happen.
• (of a sow) not pregnant.

I’m delighted with the definition of fallow. I’ve intended to let my garden and garden writing go fallow for some time. I have not abandoned them, nor are they left entirely untended. During this period of resting, I’m also making preparations for renewal. I’m emotionally plowing and harrowing.

My taking a year off from gardening did not begin today with the chronological year but last fall, with the beginning of Austin’s gardening year. For many reasons, I feel the need to let go of the garden and stand back and observe it. When I first began this garden in 1995, I had already spent 1994 observing it through all its seasons. Over the years I’ve spent so much time with my nose in the dirt, focusing on this task or the other, that I have let lapse my old habits of careful observation. For me, observation precedes inspiration.

by M Sinclair Stevens

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