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What It Means to Grow

June 23, 2009

The last few weeks I’ve been thinking about our little patch of soil and what it means to me. Our beets haven’t sprouted, our lettuce has been duly turned to salad by squirrels, slugs have taken over our zucchini, and basically anything edible has given up the ghost before making it to my dinnerplate. Some plants are doing better – the hydrangea looks heaven-sent, the astilbe is starting to send up spindly arms, the coral bells look plump – but our garden still looks scrappy, not the lush dreamscape I’d imagined. And of course, sometimes I get discouraged by the daily maintenance and the low yield.

But the real worth of it to me is this: I am learning a fundamental skill, I am learning to cultivate nature, I am becoming closer to the intricate little cycles of bloom and fade, sprout and harvest, fruit and seed. And this will last me the rest of my life – my relationship to the environment around me has been transformed.

My boyfriend just sent me this video called “Nature’s Student,” and it reminded me that no matter whether you’ve been doing it less than a year, like I have, or 40 years, like Paul Strauss, there’s still so many ways to grow into working with nature.

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