Take the storms in stride
Let the rains come
Feel the sunshine
Ride the waves
Mark the tides
Spring has officially begun and with it comes renewal and rebirth in the garden. As much as one tires of the dark, freezing days of winter, would we be so thankful and welcoming of spring if it were not for the season before? When something is present all the time, we tend not take the trouble to appreciate it on a regular basis. Just look how often we take the people we love for granted. Or the luxury of having not just running water but hot water when needed. Think how your penchant for iced tea would suffer without the easy abundance of ice within arms reach. How frequently we fail to be grateful for the daily necessities that make our lives so livable. Even more overlooked are those details like a friendly smile, a newly opened flower, freshly laundered sheets, early morning birdsong; things that though not entirely essential, lend joie de vivre to the dailiness of our lives.
And so it is with the propensity one sees these days to have the ever blooming rose, the eternally immaculate, “no maintenance” lawn, the ‘instant’ tree or best of all, the effortless vegetable garden. If anticipation itself is half the pleasure, then the well-timed rose completes it don’t you think? To expect eagerly and then applaud the flowers that bloom but for a specific span of time cannot in any way compare to what is in flower all the time. We simply get used to things till we no longer notice them. The local, sun ripened strawberries of late spring cannot be matched by those imported at other times of the year. If we had firework displays all the time, would the fourth of July still feel special and celebratory?
Everything has a season for good reason.
The high price of a pristine lawn and the harm to the environment can hardly be worth losing the earliest sources of nectar for bees and hummingbirds – the much maligned dandelion. Much is sacrificed in the effort to keep that lawn just so that ,we’ve forgotten the birthright of children and animals to play there, pick grass to make a whistle, bury a bone or other treasure, search for four-leaved clover without worry of the toxic effects of weed killers and pesticides.
Disregard for the moment, the expense of planting a mature or almost mature tree ( they are called ‘trophy trees’). After all, if one has the funds, why must a person be judged for how they spend it. It the foregoing of the utter satisfaction of watching a young sapling evolve into an impressive tree that is the true waste. So what if it takes too long for a baby tree to become an adult tree? Would we not think it a pity if we missed out on the years it takes a man-child to become a man? Think about it. And then, with the money saved, a multitude of whips can be planted instead: to create an alley, a grove or an orchard.
What exactly is a low maintenance vegetable garden? Does that mean not enough care was given to the plants? Were the plants compelled to jockey for space with rampant weeds? Or maybe no sleep was lost when pests ate up a good portion of the crops. To get healthy, abundant vegetables, regular watering, weeding and organic pest control is de rigueur. Besides, if it were that easy, would you have the same pride when putting food cultivated by your own two hands on the family table? Gives one pause right?
Assuming one implements time and sweat saving practices, how then are those purloined hours spent? I’d be ecstatic if they were passed in noble pursuits like face to face conversations with family and friends, a pick up game with the kids, volunteering for community services or hardest of all, spending time being creative sans anything digital for assistance or company.
A better approach is to acknowledge that we are but small cogs in the big wheel of life. Invite the gifts that nature has bestowed upon us. Sunsets, rainbows, birds, butterflies, flowers, fruits, fall foliage, snow, rain, rivers and lakes, oceans, mountains, forests, prairie and, most precious of all, each other. There will be storms, droughts and the occasional locust invasion. Accept them. We’re meant to live in harmony with nature. Each day comes laden with its own pleasures, treasures and choices. Choose wisely and you will partake heartily of the day.
Lets make this a true beginning, an honest spring.
“A man’s children and his garden both reflect the amount of weeding done during the growing season.”- Anonymous
(c) 2013 Shobha Vanchiswar