It's been a week of ups and downs, and I'm sure many of you can relate. But each morning, I can turn to my garden for solace and reconnect to my literal and figurative roots. As the alarm rings, I slide my feet onto the floor and coax myself out of bed, brew a cup of coffee, and go outside with my four-legged garden helper to tend the plants.
Moving at a pace slower than honey, I inspect each bed, squinting to discern the newest sprouts that have sprung forth from the ground overnight, and to see what grew by leaps and bounds in the twelve hours since I last looked. There are purple lettuces reaching for daylight now, and strawberry-red ladybugs working diligently, tending the undersides of plants that I leave unturned.
I lean forward, fingertips grazing the leaves, marveling at the first tiny grape tomatoes on the vine. Drawing deep breaths, I say silent thank-yous to the earth for these little plants. My mind wanders to summer mornings spent with my mother in her garden, watching her garden ritual and taking note of the very same parts I have now adopted as my own.
Grabbing for the kitchen shears, I harvest spinach for dinner, and cilantro to share with friends. Back and forth between kitchen and garden I go, as I wash the leaves and then water the crops, appreciating this tiny life cycle in my own backyard environment.
That night, at dinner, I take a little longer to eat my greens, looking out at the garden between bites, and it becomes very clear to me that this garden is much, much more than a way to feed us: it's a ritual, and one that can be appreciated no matter what size garden you tend.
And that is why I garden. What about you?
(Images: Amber Byfield.)