The gazing bowl has become an autumn tradition now.
During the summer it’s the dog’s outdoor water bowl and gets refilled every day. It’s a nice bowl, but of little interest to anyone but Geordie — until the leaves begin to float down from the trees.
Once that time arrives, I allow it to fulfil its true destiny.
One day a utilitarian dog bowl; the next, a kaleidoscope of wonders.
Starting in late October (the dog is usually doing most of his drinking in the house by this time) I stop changing the water and just let the leaves and seeds fall and gather in the bowl. Some float. Some sink. The colours and composition change hourly depending on the weather, the light, and which leaves have most recently fallen.
I make visits to the gazing bowl many times a day — returning from dog walks, putting out the compost, walking back and forth from the studio. When I need something calming (more and more these days, it seems) I go outside just to lose myself in it for a few minutes.
It’s especially mesmerizing in the rain …
And, while I’m there, I always like to try my hand at “reading the leaves” — just in case I’ve managed to develop psychic abilities since last year. So far, no luck.
In fact, I generally come away with questions after letting my mind wander with the leaves and the reflections.
I wonder how soon it will be before we live in Meta world, with meta gazing bowls and meta outdoors, and real nature a privilege only for the very wealthy. I wonder if I should delete my Facebook account.
Will the COP26 Glasgow meeting make enough of a difference? I wonder if there are enough politicians brave enough to do what needs to be done.
I wonder if the trees that were meant to replace the Notre Dame poplars will ever be planted. I miss their little heart shaped leaves in the gazing bowl.
I wonder if the fritillaria meleagris bulbs I’ve just planted will bear flowers next spring. I’ve lost count of how many of these bulbs I’ve planted in the garden over the last 30 years, with very sparse results. But hope springs eternal and I like to imagine them biding their time in the soil, under their blanket of leaves, gathering strength for a spectacular showing next spring.
I’m not sure what Geordie wonders while I’m doing my gazing.
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