Planting Hope

September 22, 2014

Is there anything more optimistic and hopeful than planting a garden? 

This weekend, my husband and I prepared our largest garden bed for fall planting. We had to dig out the old soil, pull up the tree roots creeping into the bed, put down cardboard to slow their return, and refill the bed with a mixture of the old soil and a good helping of fresh soil from our compost heap. It was hot, drippy work, but we were left with a beautiful, ready-to-be-planted bed.


After and ready for planting
We’re also growing our garden from seeds—another hopeful and optimistic endeavor. Can you imagine sweet sugar snap peas coming from these:

Or carrots from these:

That’s what we’re hoping for, along with a few other Florida cold season crops.

There are many garden-to-life metaphors/parallels/life lessons, such as: in gardening as in life you have to get your hands dirty if you want things to grow, or gardening and life both have “seasons,” and so on. One of my favorite lessons, however, is that beautiful things can come from unprepossessing beginnings. Tiny, dead-looking seeds produce luscious tomatoes, beautiful blooms, crunchy carrots, and aromatic herbs. This makes me feel hopeful that when I feel parched and withered, with the right care and nurturing I can produce something beautiful and delicious, too. Even though each seed contains new life, it will not sprout unless its growing conditions are met. The spark of creativity and life within me must be nurtured as well. All I need to do is look around me for the nurturing I need to grow and bloom. And, sometimes the hardest part, allow myself that nurturing, whether it is a delicious meal, an afternoon nap, a coffee date with a friend, or half an hour spent daydreaming and listening to music.

I’ve been feeling tired, parched, and withered lately. While I have been allowing myself time for dormancy, for just chillin’, I’m ready to leave this stage and move on to the next. My favorite season—fall—is coming and with it, the cooler, drier air that always gives me an energy lift. I want to feel that spark of creative energy wake up inside me, and I want to grow and bloom the way our garden will (I hope). While I’m waiting, I’m going to pay careful attention to my growing conditions.

In what ways can you make conditions right for your own blossoming?

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  1. Dear Kathy what a beautiful correlations between garden and life. It never ceases to amaze me at how certain seeds will grow and blossom into such wonderful plants and flowers. I have seen the same with folks too. Ever notice how just a kind word or saying something encouraging makes some one's face break into a smile. That is what makes my own conditions right to bloom. Reading your post reminded me of it too! Thanks for sharing. Now good luck with that veggie patch - I know hope is going to turn out some very tasty veggies for sure!!

  2. I think there's something to said for the small fluttering of hope you have while you wait for a tiny green tendril to make it's appearance. Then there's true surge of pride that something actually made it as well as the anticipation of a crop coming to a ripened stage that can be harvested.

    All of it affirmation that life truly does go on and on...

  3. Debbie--Thanks for your good wishes. We often start out full of hope and good intentions and life gets in the way. We'll see if we can nurture these veggies to maturity!

  4. Laure--I hope we manage to get to the harvest stage. It's easy to feel optimistic at the beginning of the process, but not as easy when we're battling bugs, squirrels, etc.

  5. Finally I'm touching base again ...checking in on some favorite blogs. I've been away too long. I really enjoyed reading your reflection.

  6. So good to hear from you, Claire! I hope all is going well for you and your family. Thanks for stopping by.

  7. Planting anything does show hope. I am sitting here amidst tall fir and cedar trees that were planted by nature long ago and appreciate them very much.

    I think that I would be like you, finding the Florida heat and humidity somewhat unbearable at times. It is dry where we live, and when we came over to the valley on Sunday it was pretty humid, though nothing like what you get on a daily basis. It just wore me out!

    Kathy M.

  8. Kathy--We've been having some little hints of cooler weather to come that I've been enjoying very much. Enjoy your mini vacation and all the beautiful trees of the northwest.