Gardening: I Dig It, I Diggedy-Do

Posted on March 31, 2020

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I like gardening more than most activities. It’s right up there with playing music and hiking. It’s always a good time, always…a mood elevator.

What grows in the garden?

No photo description available.Herbs: Chives, Thyme, Fennel, Basil, Mint, Borage, Garlic, Onion.

Food: Asparagus, Rhubarb, Raspberries, Tomatoes, Potatoes, Carrots, Parsnips, Peas, Beans, Cukes, Zukes, Patty Pan Squash, Yellow Squash, Eggplant, Tomatillo, Peppers, Goose Berry, Ground Cherry.

Flowers: Daffodil, Iris, Daisy, Yarrow, Coneflower, Coral Bells, Marigold, Sunflower, Hibiscus, Hosta, Lavender, Nasturtiums, Zinnia, Lily, Sedum, Forsythia, Rhododendron, & various Michigan Natives.

The Harvest

I harvest so much more than the abundant food and flowers from the garden. Gardening is a great work-out. I don’t need yoga class; I don’t need a gym. I get a tremendous work-out, from 1-4 hours in duration, that includes a lot of range-of-motion activities, weight-bearing activities, squats, stretches, lifts, bends, and walking–with varying intensity. I can work one muscle group to fatigue, then switch to a task that works a different area. No matter what I’m doing, I can always move in a way that’s right for my body. And, in stark contrast to the gym, the music here is never shitty. Whether I’m listening to the natural world or playing music through the Bose to boost my energy and keep a pace, the tunes are top-notch.

Gardening strengthens my connection to the earth mother, and to the elders and the ancestors, like Grandma (Therma) Eddy, gardener extraordinaire, and Aunt Shirley, who loved flowers so much, she planted her yard AND the churchyard around the block. No photo description available.

Gardening is so practical & so useful, yet so extravagant with bursts of beauty and endless sensory delights. Working in the soil and nurturing plants brings forth endless curiosity, creativity, and commitment from deep inside me. A glance at the garden can cause a bouquet of questions to bloom, or trigger a giant list of jobs. I’m a demanding boss–and a dedicated worker in the garden. The work can leave me physically exhausted–and utterly exuberant over a job well done. In the garden, I am a powerful creator goddess: with my spade, I create and I destroy.

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Lest my ego grow too big from all this power, the weather constantly teaches humility and reminds me of life’s fragility.

The Compost

Grandma Eddy taught me to compost. She had an enamel-ware bowl–about two quart-size–it was white with a red stripe on the lip–for food scraps. After each meal, when the dishes were done and the kitchen was clean, it was time to carry the food scraps to the compost bin. I keep a 3 gallon bucket in the breezeway, just outside the kitchen door–or on the patio in summer; my son carries it out and tends the compost pile, turning kitchen “waste” into life-giving soil, like a god.

The garden, like a good therapist, can help me compost my negative emotions. If I feel angry or frustrated (which happens rarely, since I’m retired), there is nothing like a good weeding session to transform the inner landscape. It feels SO satisfying to pull a weed out, roots and all.

When I’m in a foul mood–when shit is getting on my nerves–and I pull a weed, I hear a bit of dialogue from Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible, which I know by heart because I taught it to several sections of high school English each year for two decades. In the scene, Elizabeth Proctor has just been told that Abigail Williams has accused her of witchcraft. Elizabeth shouts, “She must be ripped out the world!” I hear it in the voice of the actor who read the role of Elizabeth in a great audio recording I used in class: shrill and hysterical with fear and vengeance. When the weed’s roots pull free, I imagine that I have ripped my problem, my pain, and my frustration out of the world, like Liz wanted to do to Abby. That’s satisfying.

And the next thing you know, what with all the physical activity and sense of accomplishment coming on, there’s no more negativity. I’m working, sweating, and taking deep breaths. And then; my spirit lifts, my sense of balance returns, joy arrives, bringing peace alongside.

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Time and Eternity

Sunrise and seasons are certain; they endlessly cycle on. Each breath is a gift; each moment, a present. I open my mind; the land is my teacher, my mother, my friend. I open my senses; I’m here; it’s now. I’m rooted in this moment. The future is blooming; I wait in wonder and take deep breaths.

 


Related Photo Essay: March in the garden of eddy

No photo description available.lisa eddy is a writer, researcher, educator, advocate,  musician, and gardener.

On Twitter: @lisa_eddy

On email: lisagay.eddy1@gmail.com