My daughter often asks why I spend so much time in my garden. It would be mean to tell her that the small people in my household either drive me to drink or drive me outdoors to my garden. I think the outdoors option is much healthier, so I spend as much time as I can out there. (And before I get emails about this, I’m kidding about them driving me to drink.) I do find spending time in my garden to be very therapeutic. Weeds don’t stand a chance when something stressful happens!
The question my daughter asks though is one that I’ve tried to use as a teaching moment. The idea that you just put a plant in the ground and anticipate something positive from it is a bit too glossy and optimistic. It isn’t usually the truth either. Gardens, like so many other things, need to be “tended”. We’ve nearly forgotten that word in our culture, and perhaps that is a bit ironic considering some predicaments we might potentially avoid if we paid a bit of attention and “tended” to our ____________ [fill in the blank].
Trying to instill a sense of longevity is difficult when dealing with an 8 year old, but the idea that you might start something and then continue to work at it over time until completion is a wonderful thing. The tending to my garden is required in order for the beautiful jars of stewed tomatoes to appear on the shelves in the basement. No tending=not enough tomatoes to bother canning.
The pandemic has given us all a chance to see things through or tend to those things that perhaps were undone or incomplete. Our basement has been cleaned and organized, carpet is getting replaced soon, and a mound of unused items have been sorted and sent to St. Vincent de Paul and church rummage sales.
I’ve seen the photos of your progress and change on Facebook. Everyone might complain about COVID-19 causing the COVID 15 (weight gained during the stay-at-home order), but other things can be used to measure health.
Over the next week, try to focus on what you’ve gained during this pandemic. Whether it is fresh flowers in our kitchen, shelves that actually serve useful functions in our pantry, or getting through the large pile of mending that landed on the sewing machine table and has all been returned to service, review those things. See if maybe the pandemic has given us a chance to tend to some of those things that we’d been leaving undone or half done in the past. Shifting some of our focus has been required during these trying times. Not all of it has been bad.