Wednesday, May 5, 2010

no. 27: cultivating.

This gardening experience has been quite the adventure. Natalie and I feel like we are exploring uncharted territory, even though gardening is something almost intrinsic to the human experience. Gardening might be as ancient as human language, but it feels new, fresh and almost radical to us. We grew up buying food from grocery stores and now we are growing it from the ground. It is empowering, thrilling and beautiful.

It sounds simple: putting a seed in the ground and letting it grow. But there is so much more. Most of our decisions and actions taken in the garden are based on common sense, good guesses and things we have seen other gardeners do. Books can only answer so many questions. But despite our newness and ignorance, things seem to be working. Plants are growing.

Tending to a garden has certainly brought out the tender spirit in me. Yesterday, we left our little tomato plants out in the cold frame overnight for the first time. As we were driving away, I kept asking Natalie, "do you think they will be okay?" I feared returning the next day to find dozens of dead tomato plants, killed by the cold. (They survived!) And on windy days, I catch myself wondering about our tender sugar snap peas, dangling on for dear life to their trellises. I believe that gardening is as much being a good care-taker as it is knowing what to do when.

Vegetables need a lot of love.

- Luke

i do not know if this is true for you, but when i step outside after a long day, i almost always feel better. it could be a walk around the neighborhood, a bicycle ride to the park, a hike on a nearby trail or time spent in the garden.

but lately, it has been hard to find or even allow time to take a deep breath, quiet the mind, & simply enjoy the peace of being outside.
friends, i'll be honest. in the last few months, i've felt mentally, physically, & spiritually dry. i think it has something to do with the fast pace of life that i've created, the many responsibilities i've taken on, & the guilt of not doing my absolute best.
so when it comes time to really living life, i find that peaceful time to be unnecessary & instead- check off something from my to do list while feeling a false sense of, "i've got my stuff together! i'm feeling alright."

& i've noticed this in others around me. so i wonder, is life really about its accomplishments or truly, once we dig deeper, is life about cultivating? in the people, in the experiences, in the passions, in the creativity that makes up life?
it must be the latter.
so, i'm determined to make change in my life. & a small step in that right direction involves cultivating experience with my favorite person in our garden.

we are weaving trellises, sowing seeds, shoveling compost, molding beds, digging deep & getting dirty. we are reminding ourselves with each hour spent in the garden that this is what life was intended for.

because simply put-
this time of year, this season of growing truly is...




  1. How inspiring! I am trying to start an indoor herb garden as I have no outdoor space whatsoever - I just bought a small thyme plant this past weekend and if it goes well I will add more herby friends to it this week.

    As for cultivation in life..making time for the more important things is key - I know we all say it and rarely do it - but I think courage comes into play when we apply this belief. A few years ago I made room for the more important things and sacrificed things that were draining my time. I am told that the peace of my decision shows in my face. Who knew?

    The non-tangible things that mean the most to us and often get the least amount of time; inevitably end up being the things that bring us the greatest joy. I believe that and do my best to live it.

  2. Luke's little story is absolutely adorable. Also, I love that coy photo of you, Natalie. You're beautiful.

  3. I totally feel Luke on this post! "are they going to be okay?!" I ask myself that too... Truly a learning experience!! Luckily I can always run to my mom (who seems to know everything garden related)...

    It's soo great to see how wonderful the garden is growing! Such progress and such time spent with such a great accomplishment! I've been watching my peas and almost feel like they have their own personality.

    Although my husband is just an innocent bystander, he too gets involved and wants to see what's going on. Gardening is really contagious and a wonderful, wonderful thing! Happy eating and wonderful pictures!

  4. oh i loved this post! you two are so great!

  5. this might be my favorite post yet. I love the sun streaked photos and Natalie - you in that hat!
    what you said Luke is so true - you make all these decisions the best you can, and you worry a little, but somehow the seeds still turn into plants, and it's miraculous. parenting is a lot like that. : )

  6. love your blog, luke and natalie.

    natalie--i'm with on stepping outside after a long day indoors. so rejuvinating! i, too, create too much rushing in my life and regret it later.

  7. i’ve had this journal bookmarked for awhile, as i must have come across it in the past. however, i don’t have the internet, and only occasionally do i “borrow” it from the neighbours, so being able to read your lovely journal regularly is not possible. however, reading this entry today reminded me of something i read this morning in a book i have titled “the promise of a new day: a book of daily meditations.” for each day, the book offers some words of wisdom; things to reflect on in the course of the day. today’s was as follows, as it somehow relates to what you have said:

    “living on the fringes of activity is a choice we can make. always holding back, rather than becoming fully intimate with another in conversation is a choice we can make. partial attention rather than wholehearted involvement with the task at hand, whether it be reading a report, chopping wood, or preparing a meal, is also a choice. each moment we choose half-involvement we are also choosing partial death. the soul is nourished only by the rapture of fully experiencing the myriad vibrations surrounding us. attuning ourselves to “all that is” elevates the mind, heightens gladness, nurtures the creative act. each task we undertake today will benefit ourselves and others only to the degree of attention we give it.”