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Community

April 24, 2008

In addition to my own garden, I am also spending time at a community garden plot. Community is definitely something that is part of my pathwork right now. Being accepted into the family at the INSTITUTE was disconcerting. Most of us who got that early morning phone call welcoming us and inviting us to participate were thrilled. For many of us, the path to this portal had been treacherous and hard scrabble. In talking with Salmon boy, I realized it would have been easier if they had told me I wasn’t good enough. Rejection – I know that feeling – and I thrive on it. It is my wound and my gift. The gift propels me to be inquisitive, resourceful, curious, and a creatrix of synthesis. Acceptance is such a difficult state for me. What does it mean to be accepted into this community? to be welcomed with open arms? to allow myself to matter to others? to allow others to matter to me? It scares the living daylights out of me!!!!!!!

Solitary I know. Independent I know. Alone I know. Loner I know. One on one is great. Small group is possible. Large community of seekers and questers – yikes! Already I find myself falling into familiar patterns of seeking out the intimate one on one relationships within the greater whole.

I take all these reactions into the garden. I weed out the bindweed that keeps me constricted. I am making space. Just as giving up Divine Feminine Wisdom created space for me, weeding is creating space. And the new plot in the community garden is only space. It is a 20 x 20 plot of tired soil that had been farmed heavily and then reverted to a thistle infested grassy field. Transforming it into the deep, black, organic rich soil that I have at home cannot happen in a season. It will take patience and time. This 400 square feet is teaching me a lot about time and patience.

The Shenandoah Valley is traditional in many ways. Looking around the plots in the community garden, most are laid out in linear rows with a path between that can be howed and kept weed free. A few, are using the square foot method. My plot is the only one with chipped Christmas tree mulch in the paths, sieved mulch on the beds, and an array of beds – 3×3,  4×4, 3×10 and other shapes. In the geometric center of my plot, is a round circle that I intend to fill with towering sunflowers.

When I look at all the plots, there is a part of me that envies the simplicity of the perfectly howed straight beds. I imagine that the men and women who tend these beds are happy. I imagine that not because I have any reason to believe they are happy, but because I recently heard about a study that found that people who don’t consider the world as complex, are happier than those who see the world as shades of gray and impossibly rich in possibility. My 20 x 20 plot is complex, complicated, beautiful, and invites curiosity.

I think I just described myself – complex, complicated, beautiful, and inviting of curiosity.

What does your garden say about you?

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One comment

  1. hmmm let’s see … I’ve always referred to my garden(s) as a living laboratory. The current version is partially wild and crammed full of old fashioned scented flowers, ceremonial plants and healing herbs. When I first broke ground, I created a series of interconnecting beds that reminded me of the gardens I loved to study in medieval woodcuts. Over the course of many seasons the original inter-connections have grown blurred and shape-shifted several times. The overall effect is one of effusion, eccentricity and abundance. It’s extremely colorful and light-drawing; an established space of sanctuary for many birds and four legged as well as humans. There are two gaia altars facing north and south respectively. At thse points I make gratitude offerings and also return spent healing plant matter to Our Mother, the earth. When we’re past all danger of frost, I’ll move the exotic grove from the sunny alcove where I write to the protective center of the main garden bed. Throughout the year I prepare flower essences in the sunniest portions of the southernmost bed.

    I really enjoyed the opportunity to respond to this question. It was fun to think about a space that’s such a vital part of my life and how I live it by way of a thumbnail sketch offered to somebody who has never visited it. For the past couple of months I’ve been recovering very slowly from the sudden very painful ‘awakening’ of a spine injury that was apparently years in the making. Just this week I’ve just reached a point where I’m able to wander in the garden beds (also years in the making) and begin tending to them on the cusp of a new growing season. So it’s the perfect time to consciously define a ‘place’ that feels more like my second skin…



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