Tag Archives: gardening

I am god….(a poem)

I am god.

I know this because I make it rain.

I decide when it does, how much it should.

I plant that which I water,

I bounce along proclaiming in a sing song voice:

“Here an oak tree, There a pine.

Here an artichoke, There a vine.”

I am god.

 

I am god.

I know this because I protect the fruits of my labor from mine enemies.

With a vengeance I curse them to a devastating eternity,

waging constant war with their daily efforts

to decimate all that I labor to sustain.

I also decide just how much sun shines.

I am god.

 

I am god.

I know because I command all that is around me,

Guiding and directing, moving and creating,

Observing, defending, and nurturing –

All the while dispensing my energy in order that my creation thrives.

I am god.

 

 

I am god.

I know because I drag my hose out every evening to water.

A long green eel that slithers along after me as I

Lovingly delve out a sparkling stream to each of my darlings

This and that plant or flower

Placed with wild abandon as I flit

Around judiciously constructing my habitat.

“tra-la-la….I am god.”

 

I am god.

I know this because snails and I are mortal enemies.

I sling them over the fence, one at a time,

To die a slow, dry, hot death.

It’s either them or my basil.

I also make sure that my tomatoes get full sun,

And the begonias get shade.

I am god.

 

I am god.

I know this because I trim and train,

Prune and mulch, caress and love,

Diffusing myself into my own little corner of creation.

I am a gardener.

I am god.

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The Human Condition of Creating

One of the most endearing qualities we humans possess (to this speck of dust at least) is our passion and ability to create.  We are an amazing creature to be able to create the way we do.  We use our imagination in infinite ways to bring a new picture, or story, or gadget to realization.  But it’s not just the ways that we invent new things that make us creative – think of the way we create our ‘nests,’ by which I mean our homes.   We pay attention to every detail.  Not only do we want a specific color of curtain, it must also be the right texture. We paint trees and paw prints on the walls of our children’s rooms, with matching comforters and light switches.   Some of us even make sure the color of our Kitchenaid matches our kitchen theme.  While we’re on the subject of kitchens, there’s no greater place we love to create:  mixing new spices with traditional recipes to produce an original dish, making cupcakes in distinct flavors and colorful frostings, or adding a surprise ingredient to a tried and true soup.  One of my favorite observations about cooking is the intimacy inherent in this form of creating.  All that chopping and stirring and tending and measuring is done with care as we infuse our love with each twist of the spoon.  We don’t limit ourselves to creating in just the home however. There are the Steve Jobs of the world, the Richard Branson types who carry us forward, like da Vinci did during the renaissance.  These creators stand on the edge of everything we know and then have the tenacity (and audacity) to take us further.  Same goes for those daring astronomers and physicists who spend their dream time creating new ways for us to interpret our universe.  There are the designers who weave and sew in order that we may create a way of dressing that expresses who we are.  We owe our cultural fabric to singers and writers and painters and sculptors who somehow manage to capture a bit of the Universe for us with each stroke of the hand or movement of a note.  We owe our knowledge to those who have ever stood in front a classroom, creating an environment to challenge our minds and dig to the depths of reason.  Everywhere we look, we can observe ourselves creating in some form or another.  It is a beautiful sight to behold.

If we consider the thought a little deeper, we come to the conclusion that we can’t help but be creators.   We are born of creation itself, it is therefore in our very fiber to be creative – the old ‘acorn doesn’t fall far from the oak tree’ adage applies to us here.  If we dig deeper we can see a dynamic between the creator and the created, intimate and beautiful, a result of the fact that we are co-creating, working in tandem with the very universe that put us here.  Imagine – we are working side by side with Nature when we are creating.  Nothing is more terrible.  Nothing is more sacred.  There could be no greater act of worship.

So the next time you cook your family’s favorite meal, or dream up a new math formula, or pluck the next guitar string, or figure out a way to communicate with your sixteen year old for a minute – remember that you are creating, working with the universe, just as we were born to do.  Is there nothing more fulfilling in life?

Be Well…

Frankie


The Best Part of Gardening: The Things it Teaches Me

For the first time in a few years I’ve grown a garden this summer.  It’s not much, an old table set  with some herbs, lettuces, and cosmos,  and two half barrels on either side of it, one containing summer squash and one with tomatoes, all tucked in one corner of the backyard.  I also planted some new flowers to add to the few plants and lone miniature rose bush on the patio. Add an eclectic group of chairs and I have a quite nice sitting area for all my efforts. It’s autumn and I’m sitting amongst my plants and flowers now, reflecting on the lessons my little garden has gently brought back to my conscious, and I am grateful for them.

The first lesson I was reminded of is that timing is everything.  My grandma and mom religiously planted their garden by the moon signs (the Farmer’s Almanac was a staple in my home as a child) and judging by the jars of tomatoes and green beans I had to help ‘put up’, they were very successful.  There is a time to plant and we must be ready when it comes.  We must have our beds all made and soil prepared, after all, you can’t just throw seeds into some dirt and expect a bountiful harvest. If I want my business to grow, I must make sure I am prepared with knowledge and watch for opportunities to use it. If I want my children to succeed, I must prepare them for the ups and downs of life and I must know when to allow them more freedom.  Timing and preparation are imperative if I want my garden to succeed, and equally imperative if I want my life to succeed.

Gardening requires diligent watering.   I live in a very hot climate so missing one day of watering could be the end of a seedling.  Even if I missed a day with full grown plants, I could see the stress it caused them.  They could not produce fruit at their best with haphazard watering.  I learned to love the discipline of it.  One of the benefits of gardening is that we get immediate gratification.  Almost daily we can see our little sprouts reaching out with new growth.  I was reminded that some areas of our lives require daily “watering” as well.  Exercise for one thing.  Our muscles lose strength if we miss even a day of a workout.  Our mental health requires some sort of meditation on a daily basis so that the new seeds of thought or creativity can break free of the soil and grow to bear fruit.  But we learn to love the discipline of it.  I like the strength my body has, I like the way my clothes fit as a result of keeping myself physically healthy.  I enjoy the new ideas that come to me as a result of meditating – watering my soul.  I definitely cherish the enlightenment and personal growth that comes with it.  And if I don’t, if I miss a day or week or so, then I find I am stressed, not receiving any new enlightenment.  I am not growing, and any fruit I bear is puny.

As our seedlings grow and plants mature, one of the crucial elements of gardening comes into play: thinning and pruning.  Those little sprouts, so perky and promising must be thinned.  I know it is logistically impossible for my half barrel to sustain twelve squash plants, three or four at the most.  So I must pluck from them the weakest, the smallest, and the ones less promising.  Ideas are like this I’ve noticed.  I do not possibly have room in my life for every idea that comes across the wire. I must choose which one will benefit me most, which one is most promising, which one will grow to bear the most fruit.  But it is not just in the thinning of the sprouts that pruning takes place, we must also prune as the plant grows.   My tomato plants remind me of “Little Shop of Horrors,” they know no bounds and would take over half the yard I swear if I didn’t cut them back.  By doing so, the plant is allowed to focus its energy on the developing fruit it has.  Otherwise, it would become overtaxed by trying to feed all the tomatoes and they would end up puny.  It is good to bear fruit.  It is not so good to overtax ourselves trying to feed too many projects; they will suffer in their success.  I was reminded that we must be careful to understand that we cannot do it all. We must remember to scale back those areas of our lives that would inhibit the best harvest, even if they are healthy, even if they have the potential to bear fruit.  The simple reason is that we only have so many resources available in this life, we must be sure to channel them carefully for maximum yield.

We must enjoy our harvest!  There is no better feeling than being able to go out, grab a couple of summer squash and a handful of basil and cook it immediately, food straight from my back yard and into the mouths of my family; or picking a few tomatoes to dice and throw into a salad, bright red, sweet and juicy – best taste in the world.  Neither is there a better feeling than when an idea has come to fruition:  an article was published, a contract gone through, a child earning an award. It is important to savor success; much work, effort and discipline goes into its creation.  Besides what happens if we do not eat the fruit?  It spoils.  We might as well enjoy it.  I was also reminded by my proliferous squash plants that it is important to harvest consistently or else there’s no room for the new squash to grow.  As a writer, this particular reminder hit home.  If I have two or three ideas for articles to write, then I must get them out, I must harvest them in order for new material to come to bear.  What happens to squash (ideas) that are not picked?  They grow to be absurdly big and too tough for consumption.  They spoil – and they rob the plant of the ability to focus its energy on new squash since it has to feed this old dying useless thing.  Likewise, consistent harvesting of our ideas means more creativity.

Finally, gardening gently reminds me of the cycle of things.  As I said, the growing season is coming to an end.  Already I’ve pulled up my squash plants. I’ve got another month left of tomatoes, basil, and oregano before the first frost.  It seems that we have a similar cycle of creativity.  A project begins as a seed and before you know it it’s run its course.  Game over.  While we feel pressure to move on right away to the very next thing, gardening reminds us of a different path.  We need a moment to rest, just as the soil needs a moment to rest, just as an apple tree needs a moment to rest.  We need a rest to recuperate after a harvest and build up the energy for another growth and bearing cycle.

So happy hibernating!  Enjoy the fruits of your labor this winter if you’ve ‘put up’ some of your harvest – I will be enjoying some homegrown, homemade sundried tomatoes.  And as I do, I will be thankful of the lessons I’ve been reminded of this summer, keeping them in mind for when I’ll need them later, like tomorrow.

Be Well,

Frankie