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Go to Admin » Appearance » Widgets » and move Gabfire Widget: Social into that MastheadOverlay zone
In the early morning, just as the sun is rising and there is still a hint of dew in the air, I stand surveying my garden. There are neat rows of corn seedlings, peas and beans starting to climb their trellises, raspberries and blueberries with tiny green buds of berries that will ripen in the summer sun. I feel rich beyond measure. A garden gives a person a sense of freedom. Growing your own food means that you aren’t relying on the local grocery store to provide for you and your family. You’re not a victim to ever-higher prices and poor quality food.
When my husband has a “hankering” for some ice cream (he’s got quite a “sweet tooth”), I can go outdoors to the garden and fill a bowl with fresh, ripe strawberries that I will slice up in the kitchen and garnish his bowl of vanilla ice cream. I don’t have to worry about whether that expensive basket of strawberries from the local grocery store has started to turn to mush in the frig or about the heavy load of pesticides used to produce them. (Strawberries are number one on the list of pesticide-laden produce.)
Tending a garden ennobles a person in that it reminds us that we are embedded in the natural world, not separate from it. When my stepson was a child, around 5 years old, he remarked to his father that “the whole world is a garden.” Out of the mouths of babes. How often do we stop to think about the nature of the world as a garden? One that provides for us in ways we often choose to ignore. Recently I read an article about our need to “preserve the environment.” But the argument was one that is rarely made. In it the author suggested that the fact of humans having lungs is reason enough to cherish and protect the natural world. Lungs require oxygen, without it human and animal life would cease–instantly. Our bodies do not make oxygen; only plants do that. And they thrive on the deadly poisonous gas we land-based animals breathe out—carbon dioxide.
So if we accept that as fact, we must begin to look at what is required for plants to grow and thrive—clean water, fertile soil, the sun, the entire planetary system, which holds the earth at just the right distance from the sun and ensures a rotational spin that causes the seasons to advance and recede on a regular schedule and ensures a temperate climate, thus making agriculture–all plant life really–possible.
Our lungs–our very lives–need plants and trees and weeds and all of the living, breathing, green things that grow out of this earth. Gardening means that you are joining in that noble purpose, you are casting your lot with nature and seeing in the work of your hands the perpetuation of life on this planet. But it’s not just a one-way interaction. Plants give back far more freely to us than we do to them. Plant just one seed and you are given back many more to eat and save and plant next year. Even a single container on a back porch or apartment balcony yields many a ripe tomato, succulent, tasty, without a whiff of pesticides or genetically modified with fish genes to keep it from succumbing to an early frost. And all for the cost of a package of seeds (or free if you save your own) and some time and attention from us.
Right now in the orchard, the apricots and plums are beginning to ripen. Just like in some mythological paradise, I can wander through the garden snacking as I go on sun-warmed fruit and have my hunger satisfied. The word “paradise” is an ancient Persian word meaning “walled garden”. Our gardens—walled around and separated from the larger garden that is the world—are the paradises of our own making, as all paradises are.