One touch of nature makes the whole world kin. ~William Shakespeare
(Columbine, out back)
I've tended a garden – of some kind – for as long as I can recall. As a child, we had a great big garden – surrounded by a picket fence, filled with treasures we’d tend all summer long: potatoes, carrots, corn, peas, broccoli, strawberries. I remember tilling the soil, planting, watering, pulling weeds (ugh), and finally harvesting our bounty! The garden was always a marvelous place for discovery: we had bugs in our veggies, rats digging tunnels through our rows, and one year, even turned over a nest of baby bunnies! Gardening was a part of every day life – a lot of work, but fun too, and even better – we ended up with Stuff To Eat at the end of it all.
(Our strawberries ripened this weekend & they were delicious!)
When Adam and I were apartment living, I kept pots of flowers and tomatoes on our deck, and when we moved to Maine, we tried our hand at a full-fledged vegetable garden a couple of years, along with many perennial beds. Though we never got much of a veggie harvest, there was always something that felt so right – and even necessary – about tending a garden. Without it, there’s a piece missing from Spring and Summer. A piece missing from the soul.
(Our backyard garden as of last week)
We’ve been back in New Jersey now a few years, and don’t have much space. But every year with the kids I’ve made the effort to get something in the soil with them. Our perennial beds are thriving, but with limited space and sun, we don’t have the most impressive veggie garden. Yet, even without ending up with baskets full of edibles in the fall, it’s still so important to get your hands dirty. Through gardening, my children have come to understand the sequence of planting a seed, watching it sprout, grow, bear fruit, and die… the cycle of life. A garden is life. I’m grateful for the time with my kids – planting seeds, digging in the dirt, feeling the sun on our shoulders, the breeze in our hair, smelling the rich soil, and watching our plants move through the cycle of life and seasons.
We are all a part of this earth – no matter how far away from it we tend to get, through technology – we come from the earth, we return to it, we need it. The garden reminds me of how interconnected we all are with each other and our earth, and I am grateful for it.
(Foxglove, out front)
So… how does YOUR garden grow? Do you have rows and rows of veggies or a couple tomatoes in pots? How do you connect with the earth with your children?