Thursday, March 12, 2009

what a gardener knows for sure

I have been talking to a woman friend about our gardens. Really, what we've been talking about is life: losses and gains - what is ours and what isn't.

See ... it's like this. Some things we think belong to us, like a memory of a love, may not actually be ours at all. It might be that a person used us, or was loving someone else and their acts of loving us were false. A diversion.

Or a family season that was satisfying and rich can be stolen from us when the family breaks down, and we wonder if we ever really were that family we remember.

In light of this we have been talking about how we have to be careful or we will dig up too much, and throw too much away.

Spring is the time I go to my garden and pull out the dead fibers and branches from last year's vegetation. Much of it pulls off easily and opens space for new growth. But sometimes I pull what seems to be dead matter and I discover it is holding tightly to the roots of the plant. If I pull the thing completely out nothing will be left to grow freshly this year. Then the job is to tamp that root back in, and give it a chance to grow.

My friend and I also talk about how we can bury things in our garden ... hurts and symbolic things that represent what we've lost.

My friend said, "After this conversation my garden will be both graveyard and birthplace - I usually pray and talk to God while I garden - so this year I will be even more aware of what I am laying to rest and what I am hoping to grow."

So, what a gardener knows ... Don't throw too much away. Bury what is dead. Be careful not to throw something away that still has life. Give space for new growth on an old plant. Go slow. Get your hands dirty. You never know what is going to grow out of the dirt.


Krissi said...

I think you are my new favorite writer, Marilyn. That's a pretty big feat. You just beat out Virginia Woolf.

Anonymous said...

The last paragraph could be a book it's so rich. You nailed it, Marilyn, and I will mull it over many times in the days to come. - Your Gardener Friend