Working in the Garden

My corner of the yard
Life is bristling with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to cultivate one's garden
Voltaire

This morning,  my hands wanted to dig in the dirt. I could feel the restlessness, the energy stretching from knuckles to my fingers.

I take my time planting a garden. I do it in small bites. One row of seeds, one plant at a time. 

Before I sow seeds or transfer a potted plant into a larger container or into the ground,  I sit. I visualize and feel where the plants want to go. I watch the sun. I look at all the options. I sit with the plant or seeds. When I have a spot picked out, I wait for the weather.  I treat my seeds, my baby plants like chicks. I want to protect them and make sure they are cozy where I place them.

Sometimes. that means replanting when the sunlight heats the soil, so their roots feel the warmth of the dirt. Other times, its misty out. Like yesterday when I planted red lettuce during a soft rain.

Today. One project at a time. I replanted the lavender in a larger pot. I could feel her roots wanted to stretch and explore. 

I am feeling and learning about my new garden. 

During the 2017 Tubbs Firestorm, my family evacuated from Santa Rosa to the KOA campground.  We waited a few days, while several fires raged, circling our neighborhood.  When, it seemed safe enough to return to pick up a few items at the house, we were unable to move back in just yet-the smoke was thick and the fire was not contained. The first thing I did, was go straight to the backyard, to my mom's garden. My mom has a huge garden, almost a quarter of an acre, with a shade plant area, veggie garden, chicken coop and hen yard (Lucy, my mom's chicken was back at the KOA, comfortably situated in one of the cabins), flower beds, and palm trees.

The plants looked terrible,  like they had seen a ghost. They were brittle and shaken. I could feel their thirst. I pulled the green water hose, turned on the faucet, and watered. I misted them and talked to them, bringing them back to life. The pinkish grey smoke permeated the air with particles and ash of burned homes, lost family members, pets, and plants. All consumed in unforgiving flame. I kept watering. The plants started coming back. I could see their light. An hour later, we left them, returning to the KOA several miles away.

Hope is that lone bloom in the desert when you can see nothing else but sand.
Terri Guillemets 

During my 54 years, I have kept several gardens. All so different.  Every one of them healing. When I was twenty-two, my first garden as an adult was on a patio in an apartment complex. I was inspired by the way, some of the other tenants created jungles of palms and banana trees so thick, you could barely find their front door, hanging baskets of flowers and hummingbird feeders decorated others.

I bought a few packets of seeds and started container gardening. Patiently,  I waited. I can still remember the joy I felt watching a green stem burst through the soil, days later unfolding into a sun yellow cosmo. 

New life.

Gardens heal. Right before our eyes, in our hands and under our feet, they show us the promise of death's rebirth into new life.

A cycle. A circle.

If you need to hang onto something when everything seems to be falling apart, dig your feet into the earth and let your hands do the work.

And watch life do its thing.


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