To date, I think I’ve spent one, all-out serious day in the garden. Yesterday. Sure, I was home for short weekends back in April, gardening for hours on end. I was here most of May during iris bloom season, and lived outside for most of that month too. But as far as days go where nothing crosses my mind but the blunders of my trowel, I count a lonely one.
And likely as a carryover from yesterday, I sat at my desk today, peering through a window pelted by rain, and found myself in a gardening state of mind. I like to think I always am, but usually it’s only most of the time. There are days where paperwork and email and voicemail clutters my head, instead of the sights and smells of the garden. But in a gardening state of mind, all that disappears. My mind at that point refuses to leave alone the mental list of garden chores to do, or the tempting idea to wander and stroll without any purpose at all. It’s those moments, those humble blinks of unshaming ecstasy that I wish I could share with non-gardeners in my effort to create a more beautiful world. When we can finally give up the din of life’s motor for something more human and less mechanistic, we’ll come to a much greater understanding about the peace and beauty of the natural world around us.
Poet Wendell Berry explored such peace and beauty in his poem The Peace of Wild Things. The ultimate sentence summarizes my gardening state of mind: “For a time/ I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.”