Eric and I have been doing the final clean-up and the first of the spring tilling. Admittedly, and this is coming from a hard-working Kiwi, the work is tough on the body. Eric in the boxing ring with a 300 lb alligator, his arms and body dragged along as the rototiller bounces on the root matted winter grasses, he’s then flung into some fluffy realty to only be dragged off again hanging on for dear life. And then there’s the task of rounding up the last of the 300 tomato cages; a walking marathon, carrying 6 at a time, back and forward. Every rock and stone marked, I am zenned out to the feel and sounds surrounding the human created ecosystem. Beyond the fence, trees glowing new leaf shoots of greenery in every possible hue. A backdrop so alive that the farm with it’s formidable plastic deer fencing reflects out in a promising hope of greenery itself.
If you’ve ever grown a garden, and I hope that you do, you’ll know too well that you can’t start without finishing up. And that the curvature of the environment is no straight line but that it weaves about in a cyclical spiral. The seasonal rhythm is a timing that is governed not by our clocks or our lineal minds, but by the seasonal shifts and more closely by the weather. If ever you need to experience a different kind of realty, one that is shaped by these terrific forces, then gardening would be the task to pick. As one engages in these seasonal rhythms, then one can get in touch with deep time that goes beyond our everyday scheduled lifestyle and approaches something closer to what humans practicing agriculture 10,000 years ago experienced. The work of breaking down and building up, finishing and starting is cyclical to our intuition, and every year of working in this way we get a little better at getting the timing just right; our sense of observation is keener. The garden gives us a portal from which we can glimpse into a world that is wholly governed by nature as it strives to connect us to the process, putting seeds in our hands, giving us knowledge of plant, soil health and treating us to a reflection of ourselves glowing back at us.
To find ourselves again on this threshold of ending and beginning, coinciding with Spring and it’s greenness, is to grasp at what it means to be alive, to have hope and renewed joy in the world. The gift we are showing the world is the unfolding of the story of the garden from the hummus to the humans, from the earthworms to the hummingbirds, from the ancient seed to the table. A gift that is a co-creation of the forces of nature, the human intention and our dedication to being in deep time with our surroundings in such a way that we are harnessed to the task by our own impulse to be part of the great spiral of life.