Planting A Life: How Keeping A Garden is Good for the Soul (June)
Rev. Judith Laxer
The solar peak of the year arrives at the approqching Summer Solstice. When the days are this long, gardeners gladly give more time to the green and growing. It’s a watchful time, a hopeful and beautiful time when the lushness of Summer is here at last. We’d be wise to keep this awareness ever present because Summer will seem to be over just as suddenly as June seemed to have arrived. How is it possible that half the year has already hastily departed?
Seeds that have sprouted are growing their second sets of leaves, sending out tendrils to cling to trellises, flowering so they can fruit. Green denizens are establishing themselves, holding earth, taking up space. They are hungry for light and thirsty for rain. They want to fulfill their purpose and promise. I do too.
The past few months I have been preoccupied with putting things into the soil; compost, fertilizer, seeds, vegetable starts. It seems all I do now is the opposite. At this time of intense tending, my most important job is to remove anything that might get in the way of the growth I am cultivating. Such as all those prolific weeds, which appear to grow back in mere minutes. I like weeding actually. It feels therapeutic, providing instant gratification, a great sense of accomplishment, and the sweet illusion that I am in control of something. I don’t bother removing all the chickweed. I just continually chop some into my salad to keep it from taking over. It’s way past dandelion removal time. They are just too stubborn now. Until I lift them for their potent roots this Autumn, I’ll just keep pulling away the flowers in a rather futile attempt to keep them from spreading. I don’t know the names of many of the other weeds I grab with both hands, listening to the satisfying sound of roots coming free, but I do know that if I don’t keep them at bay they will steal the nutrients I want my crops to receive.
While pulling weeds is easy, for me the most difficult part of tending is the thinning! Those fat rows of sweet-smelling, feathery-looking carrot tops? There are just too many of them. If they are not thinned they will crowd one another out and all of them will die competing for sustenance. Intellectually I understand this concept. Too many, like too much, is not healthy. We witness this truth over and over all over the world. I remind myself that there are so many seedlings because it’s a numbers game; not everyone is meant to make it to fruition. If I want to harvest a delicious bunch of carrots, I must now decide who stays and who goes. I don’t like this responsibility. It makes me cringe. I apologize to the little sprouts as I gently tug them from the earth and thank them as I toss them on the compost pile. Immediately the remaining ones look happier to me, more robust, relieved. I can sense their silent sighs of pleasure as they spread their miniscule roots into the space where once their comrades grew.
It causes me to ponder. What is crowding me and steals my nourishment? What needs to go that is holding me back from growing well? Why do I delay tugging them from the soil of my life when I know that ultimately it’s for my highest good? I learned long ago that quality is better than quantity. Why do I hold on to too much? Why do I resist what will make me happier, more robust and relieved? What hungry weed of a thought keeps me from devoting as much time to bravely establishing myself on the earth as I do the plants in my garden?
If I could fill the metaphoric yard waste bin of my life with thought forms as useless as the bio-mass I fill the garden yard waste bin during the month of June, I would ensure better odds for my own fruition. I would provide sweet reprieve for my soul. Before the sun begins to wane in its yearly cycle after the Solstice, I’d better make use of the lingering twilight and keep weeding out my power poacher thoughts. After all, the year is growing late and tempus fugit.
Rev. Judith Laxer is a modern day mystic who believes that humor, beauty and the wonders of nature make life worth living. She is the founding Priestess of Gaia’s Temple, an inclusive, Earth-based Ministry with over a decade of service. www.gaiastemple.org, www.judithlaxer.com
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