No more running

Fall ritual

Vermont summers are fierce and semi-tropical. Not in temperature or humidity, but in explosive plant growth. The growing season is short. Everything that grows here is intent on getting as big as it can as quickly as it can. The fields and forests burst with green. Grape vines climb the maple trees. Morning glories slither their way into the wisteria branches. Honeysuckle and raspberry bushes grow thick and impenetrable. Corn grows eight feet high.

It’s beautiful, but in a somewhat claustrophobic way.

We’ve always laughed at the scene near the end of Hayao Miyazaki’s animated film Castle in the Sky, where the villain, Muska, pursues the heroine, Sheeta, and her magic crystal into the throne room of the eponymous castle. The castle is a ruin, inhabited only by a robot and centuries of plant growth. Muska, on entering the room, chasing Sheeta, desperately needing to get his hands on that crystal, pauses, looks around the the room in disgust and says something like, “Ugh. These PLANTS!”

I’ve heard M think that same thought on many a July day as he looks across the yard and see the vines strangling the apple trees and the lawn he just mowed visibly growing.

It’s enough to make you wish for a flame thrower.


You have to admire the peace of a day like today. We’re at the top of the roller coaster’s hill, at the far end of a pendulum’s swing. Everything is clean, shorn, stacked, coiled, compact, tucked in for the winter. If anything’s growing, it’s growing inward, downward.

This morning I pulled the grass from around the bases of the blueberry bushes and spread fresh pine mulch around them. I sat in the dry grass and pushed the mulch around while the dog sniffed around for leftover blueberries (wishful thinking, oh silly dog). I had this song in my head the whole time. I felt short and small, like a plant rooted to the land, ready to be steady, firm, and quiet.

Tucked in for the winter


  1. teaandscones says:

    I can see it all through your words.

  2. Tammy says:

    What a beautiful song, I must see that movie! Sounds haunting. I’m not into the grey these past two weeks, but I did finally have a moment yesterday in which I was able to appreciate the quiet of November. A snatch of some of the long quiet days of past Novembers. This fall has been a marathon and I could use less running.

    Thank you for sharing a beautiful post, Rebecca. Your writing is so inspiring.

    1. Rebecca says:

      Thanks, Tammy! They grey seems endless, doesn’t it? Almost makes me wish for bright, reflective snow. Almost. Hope you get some quiet, calm days soon.

  3. Cindy says:

    The initial photo drew my soul into the terra firma. Just connected me to the land in an interesting way. Had never heard the Keep on Running song/artist before. Picturing Gryfe hunting for blueberries was priceless as was the efforts undertaken to get the berry bushes through the winter in a healthy state. And, to be honest, I had never considered the fury of the growing season necessitated by the season’s shortness. Lots to ponder. Glad you could feel rooted to the earth in your own way. It does a soul good to feel that connection.

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