Fallow Time

August 26, 2019

Photo courtesy Alfred Borchard via FreeImages

Our backyard has grown from oasis to jungle after months of rain and sun. My husband has had his hands full keeping the bird feeders and birdbath cleaned and filled, and collecting all the debris that falls into the yard from the trees (sticks, Spanish moss) and trimming out the most obvious dead stuff. He hasn’t had time for pruning or puttering around for pleasure, and it’s still too hot to plant. Right now, in many ways, we’re holding on, waiting for a change in the season, or at least a lessening of the heat and humidity enough to allow new things to sprout.

In gardening, as in life, there are times for planting, weeding, pruning, and harvesting. There are fallow times.

In the US, I don’t think we allow ourselves enough of this fallow time. Instead, we tend to fill every free minute with noise—whether it’s actual noise from the TV, radio, or a podcast, or “noise” from the written word. We don’t give ourselves time for our own thoughts to wander where they may. At least I know I don’t, because my own thoughts are often full of worry or fear.

I’ve been weeding and pruning and getting rid of the most obvious dead stuff, otherwise known as purging. Pulling books off shelves, throwing away or shredding file folders of outdated papers, sorting through my clothes, putting closets and shelves in order. Taking everything off my desk and cleaning it thoroughly. Getting ready for fall’s cooler temperatures and generally higher energy levels, when I’ll be capable of planting again.

But before that, during this last week of August, I need some fallow time. Maybe only an hour or two here and there, to lie on the couch and stare at the ceiling, or to rock in my glider rocker while acoustic guitar music plays and I stare out my office window. To sit propped up in bed with my journal and pen in hand.

The past 12 months have brought a lot of changes, new projects, new experiences, sad losses, and one spectacular trip to France. I feel like I haven’t processed half of it. It’s time to allow myself to slow down, even stop, and let all of that sink in. There will be time, soon, for planting, weeding, pruning…the cycle will continue. But first, fallow time.

Do you allow yourself the rest and restoration of fallow time? 

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  1. Dear Kathy I am thinking you and I are both needing that Fallow Time. August is my least favorite month of the year. I just have no ambition to do anything extra except sit and swing on the glider...May we both find our mojo come September - Hugs!

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  3. Yes, fallow time...I never heard it called that. As an introvert, I need quiet, down time, to reflect, to process...But I do struggle with always feeling like I Should be doing doing doing...I don't have TV and sometimes don't have any sound going while here at home. I've learned in the last few years how to deal with those feelings of anxiety. Some I think I learned from you!!

    1. I'm also an introvert, and need that quiet down time to recharge. Have you ever read The Highly Sensitive Person? You might also be an HSP. That book helped me realize the value of being an introvert/sensitive person, instead of my feeling constantly "not enough" or "not normal." It also included strategies for sensitive people to use when dealing with the situations that make us most uncomfortable that have been helpful to me.