Do You Grow? Monday Meanderings


Photo: Victoria Slotto

Photo: Victoria Slotto

I wrote the poem I posted for Saturday’s dVerse Open Link Night after a day in the garden, accompanied by perfect weather and the delights of nature in all her springtime glory. I worked pulling weeds that grew between bricks on the walkway and in the flower gardens while David planted his newly tilled vegetable garden.

We worked in relative silence, accompanied only by the wild songs of birds and the occasional growling and rough-housing of the dogs in the recently mown lawn. I couldn’t help but think of the value of hard work completed in silence that lends itself to the contemplative practices of monastic observance.

There are lessons to be learned in gardening. I will mention a few I have gleaned, but I know there are so many more. If you would like to add your reflections, I hope you will take advantage of comments to do so.

• Working in the earth is, appropriately, a grounding experience. It relieves stress and puts me in touch with the ground of my being, the substance to which I will return soon enough. A few years ago we were hit with swarms of very shallow earthquakes—as many as a hundred a day. They weren’t huge, but because they were so close to the surface it rattled the house and my nerves. For some reason, during that month or more, I craved being close to the earth.

• Weeding is a great cure for perfectionism—one of my fatal disorders. When we transplanted a lavender bush to the flower garden it infected the whole thing with grass. Until this year I have tried to remove every single root line. Finally, I realized the impossibility of this goal and just do the best I can. Forget about it once it’s invaded the irises or daylilies.

• It’s quite soothing to stop and capture the moment. To pay attention, for example, to what you can hear—the many sounds of birds, the train making its way to town just across the Truckee River, even a dog barking in the distance. Stretch out your back and legs while you’re at it!

Photo: David Slotto This is how those seedling tomatoes turned out last year.

Photo: David Slotto
This is how those seedling tomatoes turned out last year.

• Waiting is an important part of life. Late February or early March, David started his vegetables by seed in the guest bathroom under grow lights. Slowly tiny little shoots emerged. Weeks later, he transplanted them to larger pots. More recently he started setting them outside during the day to acclimate them to the climate, then left them outside overnight. Finally, Saturday, he planted the small plants in the raised vegetable garden into which he had rototilled chicken poop. Now we wait some more. In our climate the growing season is late and short, though abundant.

• Nature understands the color wheel. Color attracts birds, butterflies and bees to the garden. It pays to offer a variety of plants for them to feast on.

• Living things die in order to bring forth new life. Where dead leaves piled up, the soil is rich and fertile. Earthworms abound, aerating the soil. Annuals die in autumn but re-seed themselves in spring.

• Gardening keeps me active and limber. Sure, my back aches after a while, but I do  better after I stretch it out. The more you work at it, the less painful it becomes, and it’s a great cure for insomniacs like me. At least for a night or two.

I would love to hear about your experience in the garden, what you grow and what you learn!

 

7 thoughts on “Do You Grow? Monday Meanderings

  1. I used to love gardening – to be able to work 10 or more hours at a stretch and to see the results. Now that my strength is so limited, I have come to loathe it, because I can’t even maintain half a dozen pots properly. I content myself with watching the growth in the fields I see from my window.

  2. lynndiane says:

    Thanks for this invitation, Victoria :) The Creator put his first people in a luscious garden and said it was good…gardening is good for body and soul, yes! Seeing green, toiling in soil, feeding a family are peaceful, soothing, satisfying activities. I grow mostly veggies but a few flowers in pots and rose bushes add color and joy!

  3. brian miller says:

    i always think of gardening as a deeply spiritual exercise….putting your hand to creation….there is def a peace there…a toil for sure as well….but lots of truth….death and life enjoined…patience…persistence…i put a bit of this into my poem for tomorrow too…ha

  4. Such a soothing & refreshing post! You literally transported us to your garden… to the silence & peace :)
    My gardening limits itself to our balcony yet I have a tremendous amount of satisfaction working at it!
    Just yesterday I was pruning my pepper plants & tomatoes then I took out green flies one by one by hand from their leaves (I’m struggling with that every year & have not yet found an alternative) yet it was a soothing meditative moment as you so well put it.
    I enjoyed the way you describe your closeness to earth I could easily relate to that :)
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you so much. We lived in a situation that we could only do container gardening and it’s deeply satisfying, too. My husband grew huge tomatoes outside the door of our place, in an open atrium. The neighbors though it was pot until the fruit appeared!

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