Love and Hope: In the Garden

We came to Georgia just before the Olympics in 1996, where spring can start on Valentine’s Day and winter is the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, where the soil never freezes and you can have homegrown tomatoes by July 4th.

I discovered okra and field peas, and learned that potatoes meant sweet potatoes and not Irish potatoes. Everything I grew was made possible by the soil, rain, and sun. I even grew cotton once because I could.

My sister-in-law who does not dabble in things out of doors once asked me if all of this effort to make an organic garden was work. I was a little puzzled mainly because I was enjoying it too much to think of it as work. but to provide good quality food for family and friends required intention as well as skill. doing all of this with the welfare of the other plants and animals that shared our space needed extra mindfulness.

Growing a garden full of  vegetables and flowers  from seed is the grandest miracle I can think of, the strongest connection to the life force that I know. To create a garden is a way to honor that connection whether it’s rescuing caterpillars so they may become butterflies or watching the bluebirds bring their fledglings to the feeders in the spring. It helps me to accept our fragility. We are all passing through the life of this planet like the shadow of a cloud on a sunny day.

Scientists have dubbed the age in which we live as the anthropocentric, the age of humans. And the news is not always encouraging as we try to turn around the engine of industrialization that has created our climate crisis. Please don’t let that blind you to the all and wonder of life on this planet. Use the very human traits of love and hope to strengthen our connections to the interdependent web so that creation does not play to an empty house. 

~Karen Smith

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1 Response to Love and Hope: In the Garden

  1. katrina yurko says:

    Such a smooth read, Karen. You are the most centered naturalist I have ever known. I expect you have had at least several life iterations and will have more in times to come. The energy you send into the wilds of your big back yard and all the life forms you have helped transcend the existential threats of our world will be at your gateway to the next. You pour so much energy and truth into your “work” that these miracles, as a consequence of your touch, will return to you in full bird song, color and living breath because you are part of their story.

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