A soft rain falls. The lavender bloom of the lilac tree offers a warm contrast beyond my window which frames both gray sky and perpetually wet twig and leaves.
My garden was slightly ignored last season as I explored the shallow world of politics. Fortunately for me it was patiently waiting for my return like a faithful hound carefree of potential abandonment. The solace of my space has taken on a new urgency for a number of reasons this season.
I am currently reading The Gift of Good Land by Wendell Berry. It is a collection of essays both social and agriculture from the 1970's and sadly a number of the concerns expressed still hold true today. It has of course offered inspiration to continue my own ventures though. Reminding me why I garden in the manner that I do. It is for mother nature, health, politics, therapy, pride, self-sufficiency and most importantly for family. It is the flower in the barrel of a gun. The protest of virtue among the bitter fruit of greed. It is prayer, heart felt worship and sacrifice upon the gears of consumerism. It is religion as it is meant to be.
I have spent the day walking from window to window staring at the miniature plots that are woven among the stone walls and sumac, the bird feeders and cedar trees. I can only imagine the eventual tapestry of flower and fruit warming in the summer sun. The abundance of fresh vegetables and herbs that will soon grace our plates. Yesterday seems rather distant as the rains cascades. I broke a traditional rule and planted both popcorn and sweetcorn while my son worked on his pitching mechanics and my daughters explored the endless blue sea of forget-me-not flowers. Last year I was able to pull off a dual planting of corn simply by location on either side of the house and decided to give it another try but it was the activity around me that was the true harvest.
I have found , especially as of late, that the garden is my physical place of healing. As the wolves of industry and the blind rage of grassroots politics do battle around me I need the song of the birds evermore. As family comes and goes and friendships fade with responsibility I need the gentle breeze in the trees to sing me their solemn song.
Recently I have learned the importance of simply taking the time to observe while I am in the garden rather than spending all my time working the soil and moving rocks to and fro. I have had the good fortune of watching my children at play. Their laughter contagious and swift to emerge. Their smiles pure and genuine. I have been blessed to watch my lovely wife plant flowers and clear herb beds. Her beauty still evident and alluring. Her voice like a song in the warm spring sun. She makes hard work look graceful.
The endangered eagle soars high above our gardens. Fox call for mates just over the hills as the hounds raise their ears and nose to the air. White tail deer watch our gardens from a distance with bellies full from the forest floor. Cardinals, blue jays and robins share the perch among apple trees and lilacs. House sparrows, morning doves and black-capped chickadees all visit the quiet garden that provides so much for me.
Tobias Whitaker blogs for Mother Earth News and Grit Magazine. Click on the Mother Earth News logo at the bottom of the page for all of his post. You can also find him on Facebook at Seed To Harvest: Bossy Hen Homestead https://www.facebook.com/seedtoharvestbossyhenhomestead/ which is a central location for his homesteading blogs and his homeschooling blog, A Mile In Her Shoes: Tales Of A Stay-At Home Dad found here https://amileinhershoestalesofastayathomedad.wordpress.com/