Last weekend I didn’t have the excuse of poor weather or too many yoga classes to teach or a taser to go buy – and so I finally planted my garden.
There are dozens of metaphors here, waiting to be uprooted like the vicious dandelion weeds in the dirt: gardens teach patience; you have to tend to them; they need sunlight and care, blah, blah, blah. All things that we humans need. I’m not in the mood for metaphors so I’ll just share my (obvious) observations and a few pictures, which are more interesting than my thoughts anyway.
1. It’s unbelievable that I’m 29 and have never really grown anything, mostly because I’ve never owned a patch of soil anywhere. It feels like quite an accomplishment, really.
2. Sweeping my patio is like sweeping the kitchen floor, only it’s dirtier and far bigger. And never ending.
3. It’s impossible to even exist outdoors without being reminded of kid memories: traipsing through the woods and collecting baskets full of blackberries; climbing trees; pulling rhubarb from the garden; running from Dustin as he pelted me and my friends with hard, unripe grapes; dreaming of a tree house; flying kites; happily smelling bonfire smoke in my hair.
It seems obvious how the outdoors – whether the expansive great outdoors, or my tiny patch of grass and yard – inspires mindfulness, why Henry David Thoreau (and so many others) found deep inspiration there. ““I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms.”
Sucking the marrow out of life is difficult to do in front of a television, or computer screen, or when jumping from one appointment to the next. All of which I’m guilty of. No marrow for me lately.
Maybe I’ve been too overwhelmed. Maybe the small squash plant seemed surprisingly fragile, and breakable, and that hit close to home, or maybe I was just looking for a reason to cry anyway. But something about the freshly water ground and these baby plants caused me to feel emotional. So simple. And primitive. And fulfilling. And joyous. Can a garden really be all these things?