Grow Write Guild #13: Endings and Transitions


I’m beginning to see the end*. Gaps are appearing where summer annuals have been yanked. Seed heads are quickly replacing flowers and colour in the garden comes more from the green leaves that are shifting towards yellows, reds, and browns.

The world is in transition. I’ve been thinking about this lately. The way I focus on an ending, when what is really happening outside is more closely akin to a transitional change. The only thing that is really coming to an end is the way I interact with my garden through the coming winter months… which (and I believe this is the real reason for my perspective) is not much at all.

Without fail, there always comes a time in October or November when I am overcome with the grief of another passing growing season and am compelled to write (or complain) about it. I find the exercise is purgative and helps refocus my perspective on the good that is in front of me here and now. I realize that many of you may not be coming to the season’s end, but may actually be coming into a brand new growing season. You might consider reversing this prompt and thinking about transition from the perspective of beginnings rather than endings.

Grow Write Guild Prompt #13: Write about the topic of the garden’s end or transition.

Further Notes and Questions:

  • You can also consider writing as I did about the intersection of these two ideas. Do you see this phase as an ending or merely a change? What do you think your use of language says about how you relate to the coming winter season?
  • How do you think your specific climate and geography effects your perspective?
  • Do the plants that you grow perpetuate a particular mood or perspective on transition? i.e. Some plants die and are ripped out, while others change slowly and sometimes beautifully through the seasons.
  • Consider focussing your writing on the physical changes you have observed in the garden.
  • Consider the effect these changes have on your psychology, mood, and spirit. Are you feeling optimistic about the coming downtime, excited for the forthcoming growing season, or grief about the end of another year?

*For some reason I immediately wanted to set that sentence to the rather optimistic tune of “Beginning to See the Light” by the Velvet underground.

The Grow Write Guild is a creative writing club for people who love to garden. Everyone is welcome to participate! Click over to the Grow Write Guild FAQ to learn more about it.

Gayla Trail
Gayla is a writer, photographer, and former graphic designer with a background in the Fine Arts, cultural criticism, and ecology. She is the author, photographer, and designer of best-selling books on gardening, cooking, and preserving.

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7 thoughts on “Grow Write Guild #13: Endings and Transitions

  1. I usually feel really depressed about summer’s end and the dying of the light. So last month I decided to do something about it and instead start to appreciate something about each month in turn. I now have a ‘I Love xxx for…’ prompt on my blog each month.

    I know that November and February will be particularly tough, but already I’m enjoying a much brighter September and October having started this train of thought.

    My local blogging friend Threadspider always liked this time of the year, because as a teacher autumn had always been a beginning for her, whilst I saw it as an end. Now she’s moved away, I like to think her positivity is shining through in these posts :)

  2. I always have such mixed thoughts about the end of summer. I love the crisp fall days, but I really miss the long days of sunshine. Here in Salt Lake City, winter also means worse air quality. Smog. Ick.

    Doing this writing prompt really helped me work through that conflict and realize that even though things slow down in the winter, it’s just a cycle.

  3. I’ve just discovered your wonderful prompt series – thank you!

    Autumn always feels like a new beginning for me. The change of season makes me rethink where my I spend my time, and often I start a new project or challenge or declare a list of intentions. This year my declaration is that I will turn my attention to becoming a gardener, rather than a haphazard planter-(and-usually-killer)-of-seeds that I have been in recent years.

    I’ve written about endings and transitions here

    and I’m already looking forward to the next prompt.

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