“Why do you garden, Mike?”
Where to start… Is it the taste of cherry tomatoes picked right off the vine like a cluster of grapes, exploding in tangy wonderfulness in my mouth? Is it the zucchinis that go from perfect size to absurdly huge in 24 hours? Is it having fresh thyme and rosemary at all times? Or is it the welcoming wave of spring coming from the asparagus stalks that leap from the soil?
I suppose it’s all this and more. For me, gardening is much more than the tasty, fresh and organic food I receive. Gardening connects me to the rhythms of creation: the rise of the sun, the ever-lengthening days, the warming soil. Nurturing young sprouts to adolescence, to bloom, and finally to form the fruit that will grace my table and those of my friends and family. Connecting me to the weather in more profound than simply governing what I wear to work. Rain showers today? No need to water. Sunny and hot? Make sure the garden’s thirst is quenched.
If called upon, I could easily create a list of the benefits of gardening:
- Delicious food delivered in my own yard
- Guilt-free eating; the knowledge that the garden’s bounty is chemical free
- It saves the family budget, especially if I grow my plants from seed.
- It turns yard work into something productive and tasty.
- Creates community; something to share with my neighbors, friends and family
- My pet worms turn kitchen scraps into garden “steroids”
All of this, plus something quite remarkable: I am connected to the earth in a way that is difficult to explain. The satisfaction of weeds removed, vines tied, plants trimmed to bear more fruit. And don’t even get me started on composting!
For some reason, digging in the soil makes me quite reflective about the world around me and my place in it. In partnership with Creation, I help make something happen that would not have occurred without me. Yet, I am always aware that this is a true partnership – the Creation doesn’t exactly need me. In the process, I have become transformed into a Gardener of Eden
Surprisingly, gardening can be a spiritual activity.