Last night Vera had gathered these things from a friend's garden, including a dozen or so unidentified seeds that she found on the ground. She put them in a cup and declared them to be for her fairy garden. This morning she got to work, spreading compost out in a carefully planned spot and planting the seeds, then laying out her stones and sticks and leaves. She watered it well and checked on it several times throughout the day. My girl makes me smile. Before bed tonight she asked me if she'd done a good job with it and if I thought the seeds would grow. I told her I hoped they would, but that in growing things we have to just do what we can and then let nature do what it needs to. I told her we don't always get what we picture, but that it will always be something we can learn from and something that is good.
One of the weirdest things for me this year is not having a garden. I'm watching fresh tomatoes show up at market and the co-op and onto people's counter tops, and I just can't quite make sense of the fact that I can't just grab one twenty feet outside my door, all juicy and warm in the sun. Ah well. I was telling a friend about this at a party yesterday and she said (in all her 30+ years of gardening wisdom) something about how gardening really is about the sum of the practice. How funny that I didn't realize this before! Whenever I think of anything that I've helped to grow- my children, my partnership with Jeff, business stuff, friendships, etc., it's always about the whole rather than a slice of time. I like this meditation, too. It's beautiful to think about my relationship with the earth and with this whole growing-thing I'm working on as being a practice and a relationship rather than a seasonal outcome. It's so true, too! I just haven't ever approached it like that in my mind in any consistent way. I wonder what might change in my perspective if I remember that as I go.
I think about my days without "my garden" and it's still full of all the same relating and communing that I crave. I get to witness beauty and growth constantly, and I get to play my little part in all of it.
My friend recently tipped us off on some elderberries nearby, and today we were driving by the spot he mentioned and I saw them right away. I pulled over with the kids and we jumped out. I found a big bag hanging around in the car and we all got to picking.
I remembered today that I actually prefer a less managed relationship with nature. My kids love it too- they'll often eat bushels of foraged greens with the utmost gratitude, but the minute those same greens wind up on the plate the magic seems to have gone. This is a phenomenon I can relate to but have yet to fully understand. I remember the thrill of finding some slightly wilted flowers and a bag of oranges in the dumpster outside a local grocery (only one moldy one!). These things do not fill us with such gratitude when set up on the shelf under the glaring fluorescent lights. I recently saw a wild turkey in the woods and I practically squealed with delight. Turkeys are nothing exotic in these parts, but something about the unplanned interaction with one in the woods made me feel so happy.
Seems to me to have something to do with seasonality, a lack of expectation (and thus the absence of any entitlement), a deeper sense of gratitude, and the simplicity of it all. Less choices, more contentment. Anyway, we had pink stained hands today and were surrounded by abundance. Dark, juicy, healing abundance.