Sunday, April 19, 2009

Slowing down the pace

In keeping with my recent decision to not work full time, I've been seeking ways to begin to slow down, and to listen better. I think I have rediscovered one of those ways.

My grandmother helped me plant my first garden of marigolds. We put the seeds into the ground, and watched them grow together. Her efforts turned me into a lover of the fruit of the earth. I've had gardens over the years, and have learned much from them. My biggest weakness with my gardens is becoming distracted with other good things, and forgetting to weed and cultivate.

Three years ago I had a myriad of pots around my deck boasting of parsley, sage, rosemary, and, of course, thyme. There were others as well, and I loved the container gardening. The weeding was easy, they were in my face with gentle aromas whenever I stepped out the door so I could not ignore them as easily. Additionally, I love using fresh herbs in cooking--my roasted vegetable pizza simply cannot do without the fresh basil to make the pesto sauce. Nevertheless, with working full time, and the many calls on my time outside of employment, they eventually and inevitably succumbed to drought, frost, and lack of loving care.

The empty pots have been looking at me sadly all winter. About a month ago I noticed life in the mint container. Brave mint--you simply cannot kill it! Then the Greek oregano (a member of the same family as mint) began to recover. On an impulse, I cleaned out their containers, and they began to thrive. The other pots looked more hopeful, and I remembered how peaceful and satisfying it is to pull weeds.

Last week my daughter-in-love's family were here from New England, and brought me a gardenia bush. Yesterday I planted it. Today, on the way home from the 7:30 a.m. service, I stopped at Lowe's, and liberated some herbs, tomatoes, and pepper plants. I rejoiced in the garden's sermon that had begun at church with the proclaiming of the Easter message of faith, hope, and love. My garden reminds me of the new beginning that the resurrection gives us; a picture of God's mercy poured out in one small corner of my world.

Susan Price


Paul Corrigan said...

"Herbs, tomatoes, and pepper plants," such blessings.

Today,to slow down, I painted. I painted the canvas solid blue. Stoking the brush repeatedly with the same color and in the same direction is comparable to pulling weeds, in some sense.

Thank you for sharing this.

Jen said...

I decided to look up the word "cultivate" after reading this, and a couple of the definitions included these words: promote the development/growth of, devote oneself to, prepare, foster. I think that we can only do those things when we are slowed down in some senses. Whether we are cultivating a garden, friendship, fellowship, talent, it takes slowing down the pace. So I love that you have written about this, and I appreciated the brave little mint and how it is a part of your story as well. Thank you!

RC said...

Great reflection. Thank you for sharing. It helped me to slow down and go deeper, be more aware and more present. I'm grateful for the ways our community's sharing enriches and strenthens me--and I believe enriches and strengthens us all.

John Orzechowski said...

Beautiful reflection. Thanks! I've always loved working in the garden. Even when I wanted nothing to do with God (as a very distracted teenager), my mom could count on me to pick out flowers and plant them outside in the flower beds every spring.

Susan Price said...

All of you have encouraged me in return. I am thankful for this group.

living stones said...

Susan, I am no gardener, but I want to change. Recently, I bought two lovely purple lantana plants. They quickly shed their original blooms, and I've been waiting for them to "do it again." I can see they have tiny buds, so I'm ready for them to get on with the show. Your reflection has made me realize my plants can help me slow down as I watch them grow slow.
Thanks for helping me with this connection.

living stones said...


I wrote about the Lantana--Blessings, Anna

Your success with container plants has got me thinking, maybe I could do that too.

Susan Price said...

Thank you, all. Anna, I knew it was your post even before I read the second one. Container gardening is a great way to start. A number of plants do well in containers.

I even saw a larger-than-normal but small enough to be doable in my yard container in which one might plant potatoes. Four hundred pounds of potatoes (which is the average amount harvested from that contraption) would feed us and maybe some other families for a year.

My thoughts have been turning to good stewardship of the earth in this venture as well. Somehow, being in a relationship of planting and reaping keeps me aware of my responsibility toward our environment.

On a humorous note, one of our neighbors has a flock of turkeys (which, incidentally, is technically not permitted in our community). These turkeys manage to break out of bounds fairly regularly. The tom loves displaying his beautiful tail feathers, and he and the hens head straight for the young plants in our neighbors' raised vegetable beds. They said, "Well, he'll already be seasoned well with onions by Thanksgiving."

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