From the first year we were married, living in a basement apartment in Boston whose only highlight was the extremely shady but private 12 x 12 ‘yard’, I knew I needed to garden.
Once my gardening was simply a way to be outside and be near something green – something sorely missed in the city. Then it became a path to greater food independence. Still later, it became my place to experiment.
Now, even living surrounded by farmer’s markets and CSA’s, I still grow at least some of my own food and flowers each year. Sometimes I struggle to explain my addiction to others and even to myself, and, as I went out to rescue what may be the last of this year’s hot weather veggies from an impending spate of bad weather, I meditated on the question once again.
This mental meandering always takes my mind from the why’s of it all to the smell of the basil leaves in my pail and then to the the chirping of the crickets nearby. I listen to the song of the tree frogs and then travel to thoughts our toasty kitchen with a homegrown savory stew on the wood stove. I wonder what the people who worked this land a hundred or two hundred, or even four hundred years ago would have grown. I wonder how they survived without a country store three miles away and if we could if we had to.
And, finally, my travels take me to a place where I want to keep these skills, even if we may never need them to the degree we have in the past. They take me to a place where I am connected to our land and to its history, to an act of faith that something good will come from my labors each year, and to a place where I am truly mindful of my senses. And, most of all, they take me to that place where I am determined to cultivate – for as long as my body will let me – the peace that comes with the knowledge that those places do exist.