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Sunday, June 10, 2012

Gardening: Good for the Soul

I'm not going to lie. I had a hard week. Those that know me personally know that I had invested a lot of time and energy in a little Wisconsin election held recently. My side didn't win, and it hit me hard. The first few days afterward, I walked around aimlessly, trying to fight back a sense of hopelessness. Today, I bounced back. I attribute it to the black dirt underneath my fingernails and the farmer's tan I'm currently (proudly) sporting. Today, I realized just how good gardening is for the soul. And as the saying goes, "Gardening is cheaper than therapy and you get tomatoes."

Because of the aforementioned election, I've gotten a bit behind in the garden (and on this blog). Despite our wonderfully early spring, tasks were not getting completed. Nature did not make this any easier: our new soil quickly filled with weeds, transplants got eaten by our resident ground squirrels, and wind gusts knocked out several of our stronger plants. Today, we started many projects anew. 

The silver lining of having some of our planned gardens end up with only withered transplants is that we have FREEDOM to plant whatever we want. I took our large bag of seeds outside and sort of randomly picked what to plant. A lot of my favorites are currently happily germinating. Dry bean plants will soon be crawling up our chicken run netting, and I'll be making kale chips galore.

I recently read a book about the experience of "flow" ~ a state of complete immersion in an experience -- time passes quickly, and despite being tired, you happily persist. I experienced this state today. Pulling weeds, watering, hoeing the soil, planting seeds, pulling, watering, planting, pulling, watering, planting. Finally, twelve garden beds later, I looked up, saw Andy immersed in his own work, and I went in for a glass of iced tea. Content. Free. Peaceful. 

This post is not to over-dramatize this day or experience; rather, I believe quite often harmony comes to us when we simply sit back and do what nature intended. Could another activity bring me so close to the earth? My undergraduate class which involved reading only Thoreau and Emerson is soaring back to me...I think those transcendentalists really were onto something.

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