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After the long winter we had this year, I could not wait for spring to arrive. I was trying (and succeeding to a decent degree) to appreciate the cold season instead of just struggling through it, but I must admit that my heart rises with the first crocuses and stays that way through the summer. There’s just something about all the new life that I love.
The Growing Season
At my daughter’s school, in the nature preserve, spring is blooming in every corner. Caterpillars gorge themselves on leaves, awaiting their big moment of metamorphoses, their own private growing season. Tadpoles wriggle in the watering holes and two goslings, fluffy and fuzzy, bobble after their elegant parents. Green is everywhere, in stems, stalks and treetops, in grass, clover and unfurling leaves.
Farmers’ markets are springing to life this time of year, vendors’ tables laden with dark, ruffled greens, glossy yellow summer squash and the small jewel boxes of bright, ripe strawberries. It is finally growing season. I personally love to get my hands dirty – literally – by digging and planting. I love patting a fragile tomato seedling into place and picturing how it will look in a month, with a strong, fuzzed stem, pungent leaves and little yellow flowers. I think there’s something important to be learned in growing a garden, be it one of flowers, fruit or foliage.
Learning To Grow
The effort it takes to raise something, keep it alive and encourage its growth, and then reap the benefits of plentiful, growing life – to me, that’s pretty incredible. I also realize that growing a garden is not necessarily a positive experience for everyone, or an experience that everyone wants to have. I do think, however, that growth itself is a positive experience for all of us. It doesn’t have to be a garden.
This summer, let’s work on cultivating growth within ourselves, be it through the tangible results of a garden, or something growing and blooming within. And I don’t mean growing a collection of objects; choose something for its ability to stimulate mental, physical or emotional growth.
A garden takes work, constant vigilance and cultivation. Whatever it is that you choose to grow, tend to it. If you decide to grow your knowledge of poetry, try to read a poem every morning and contemplate it as you go about your day. Try your hand at writing your own poem. Share a passage that moved you with others, the same way you would share an overabundance of zucchini or a freshly picked rose.
You could choose to tend to a rock garden, selecting and balancing its features daily, just as you would water and weed a garden of greens. You could grow your linguistic skills and spend some time each day reciting verbs or singing songs in another language. Just like a real garden, whatever you plant will flourish and falter in unexpected ways.
Sometimes a plant doesn’t ever bear fruit, but you realize you are growing some edible and equally delicious weeds. You might realize that you really don’t want to grow your knowledge of, say, speaking Italian, but you sure do want to increase your Italian opera listening!
Whether you are devoting time and care to either your in-the-ground garden plot or a metaphorical garden of your choosing, that kind of loving attention just might help you bloom in surprising and delightful ways.