April 04, 2011

Gardening and Faith

There are so many ways one can define things like time, cycles and heartbeats. The Myans had thousands of calendars, defining growth cycles, political reigns and even possibly predicting eras beyond their own lifespan. None of this ever really made any sense to me until I took up gardening. Until then, I was lost in time cycles defined for me. My trusted Franklin Covey shaped my day with appointments and work, my nights controlled by the trusted TV Guide. 

I would tell people when they spoke of plants and flower gardens how I was certain I would kill anything I ever tried to grow remembering the bird, hamster and rose bush incidents of my youth. Jokingly, I would say the only beings I have been able to keep alive have been my four incredible children. Somewhere in my late 20’s something started to change in me, though I couldn’t really say what triggered my interest, I stopped making sarcastic remarks and began asking questions. As I began experimenting and soaking up information, visiting gardens and flower shop, nurseries and my friend’s gardens, major shifts began in my consciousness.  I started to feel differently about time and even found a deeper faith. 

I am here to tell you, gardening is an act of faith. Every aspect of planning, tilling, planting and harvesting requires the gardener’s unquestioned belief in the dirt, their own abilities and the powers that be. Take tulips for example. In the fall you diligently plant flower bulbs. They must go roots down in a well drained area. You cover them up and wait. The dirt is completely bare as the holidays come and go. The snow covers the dirt through the bitter months of winter and remains bare as the snow melts in the Spring. One day, as you are staring at the bare dirt once again wondering if your bulb made it, there it is; a perfect, tiny speck of bright green life emerging from what appears to be nothing but barren dirt. The second year is a little less stressful than the first, now knowing what to expect.

Time is different for me now. The TV Guide is gone. I am less dedicated to a strict schedule and make time for myself to go where the wind takes me every now and again. My year is defined by growing cycles, each season having its purpose, each cycle a necessary part of life.  Thanks to the encouragement of some pretty impressive gardeners, I have had three successful vegetable gardens, know my flowering trees and plants by name and finally understand why all those gardeners, recipients of past sarcastic responses simply smiled and kept gardening. I can now hear the gardener’s heartbeat. I understand their time. 

I encourage all of you to find it in your inner spirit to make the connection to plant life even if it just means putting an aloe plant in your kitchen window.  A small plant is enough to make you smile each day as you drink your morning juice.  You may find yourself having whole conversations with that aloe plant and be better for it. Here are easy things you can do with any space and a good container. 


Happy Spring and Happy Gardening!