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Sunday, October 4, 2009

Why I Garden

The storm of controversy on twitter over comments being made about Generation Y and why they don't garden has made me reflect on my own journey with dirt. I had no interest in gardening when I was in my early twenties. It was just one more chore for me to do that interfered with my entertainment agenda. I didn't start digging in the yard until I moved to a large city.

It was in Portland that I discovered how connected I am with the earth and how terrible it is to be separated from it. Living in an apartment suddenly made me feel trapped and devalued. My stressful job pushed on me and I had no outlet from which to re-energize. Luckily my friend Jess didn't live too far away, so I gardened in his yard. I finally got my own little weedy patch when Ed and I got married.

But why do I garden? I've discovered that it isn't because there is a definite outcome, like flowers or food, although that is nice. It's not because I think it's the right thing to do or because I need an exercise program. It's not because I am competing with anyone. And it's not because I'm trying to prove to Mom that her lazy daughter can accomplish something. It's because it is a process and a journey that touches my very core. I garden because it is so infinitely satisfying to be outside and smelling the flowers. I love watching the birds and insects that take advantage of my handiwork. The garden is not something I can ever control, so I must accept things as they are and just do my best. Success or failure is part of the process, not a judgement of who I am. Even if I do puff up in pride over an exceptional blossom or vegetable. Nature is so sublime and wonderful, I'm so thankful to be a part of it.

Right now I am listening to the rain after coming in from a morning of ditch digging. The water that runs off the top of the ground is gathering in my trenches and soaking into the ground as designed. The white beacons of yucca blossoms are swaying slightly in the breeze on this gray day. A little bird has taken refuge in the rose bush. This is why I garden.

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