Thursday, March 12, 2009


Last Years Peonies

I am a child born of the 70's. My parents were the kind of people who raised their children on 160 acres in the mountains of British Columbia's wild interior. My babysitters were the dogs and my playgrounds were the fields and trees and streams of the land. My father plowed our fields with horses and built our home from logs that he harvested with those same two beige clydesdales. My Mother grew vegetables and fruit trees. We had chickens, ducks, sheep, dogs, cats, goats and honey bees. All of these creatures were my friends, except one goose who had it in for me, and would race toward me with his neck outstretched, honking loudly whenever I entered his pen.

My sister and I in the bean patch 1979

To a child, to me, my life there was an idyllic Utopian world. Unaware of the "grown up struggles" my parents were having in their young 20 something lives, it was paradise. On the day my mother sat me down and told me it was time to move to town, without dad, and start a new life in a shared house, my paradise ended. I felt like my identity without the land was non-existent. I didn't know who I was, or what I would do without the earth. I cried and I cried and everything felt broken.

Much has happened between then and now, and the details of those in between years are not important. They have something to do with growing older, acceptance, and faith in something bigger than myself.

Today, I live in a city with a population of 3 million. The town that my mother moved us to when I was seven, had a population of 1500. At the time I thought 1500 was huge ( imagine my shock when I first left home to travel the world and found myself in Asia, in city's like Bangkok, and Jakarta).

As I look out my window this morning, onto this small plot of earth, upon which my little green house sits, I realize that I have filled the dirt surrounding this house to maximum capacity with green and growing things. That I am a steward of the earth, as my parents were.

Wild garden in front of house last May

Despite the numbers of people and buildings that co-exist here with me, I feel as close to the earth as I did as a child. Looking out my window this morning, considering the best spot to put my honey bee hives this spring, I realize that the earth never leaves us. Even when we feel we have left her, she never leaves us. The plum trees that grow in lines down my street show their pink beauty to the world every spring, without hesitation. The roses bloom year after year, the garlic comes up right on time, the honeybees tickle the lemon balm, like they always have done.

Last Years Garlic

And on those days when the world feels crowded and I cannot hear the wind in the trees, I can still feel my feet on the earth, and know that the soil that I walk on, is the Great Mother. Each step then becomes a prayer for her, an act of gratitude, a recognition that she is always a part of me, that I am a part of her, that this has always been this way, and that it always will be.

Last years Garlic Harvest


Starlene said...

As I began to read this, I thought "that's the childhood of my dreams!" And then as I read of your move, I remembered my parents' divorce. That familiar feeling of the known world breaking apart.

It has warmed my heart beyond knowing that you've taken that priceless piece of your childhood with you into adulthood. Out of all the things we take with us, heartbreak seems to be one of the most common. However, if there is anything bestowed with the power to repair cracks and faults, heal confusion and suffering, it is a connection to the earth and the natural world. It restores harmony in a perfect way, in it's own time, by its own system.

We are always loved in that sacred space called a garden. : )

I loved this post!

herhimnbryn said...

I have had to learn to be a gardener here in Australia. I plant three things and two wither away in the heat. But our plot is 'getting there', after 2 years of building up the soil ( it was like concrete when we arrived here). Your words and images are a great encouragment. Your garlic harvest looks amazing.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, what a beautiful post! Made me teary-eyed but in a good way. I too have gone through many changes in my life and sometimes I feel rootless, but it's good to understand that home is anywhere earth is.

No springtime over here, but your garden certainly inspires me to do some gardening myself. :)


Anonymous said...

my child my heart my soul, how I love you now and forever, you are so dear to me, and I thank you for all your remembering of a child, it was soooooo wonderful and beautiful, our farm was >>>>>>>
"Special" all our children were just as they should have been, aspired by God, life goes on and on and on
and. now we are here, my heart hears and my tears flow,
love you,

Janelle said...

beautiful. beautifulm evocative post nao. and so are You! and all that GARLIC...i LOOOOOOVE garlic. you create magic all around you. thanks for sharing it... xxx j

Morgan A. said...

Your post spoke directly to me. I have just moved from a place full of trees and wildlife to a city and after 8 months have finally started to realize exactly what you said in your post...that if I look around for the feeling I get when I am in the woods, I can still feel it! And that I can cultivate my own surroundings, even if it is my windowsill :) Thank you so much, I really love reading your blog.

Renee said...

Nao thank you for this wonderful post. In Manitoba we are still covered in snow, so it was so nice to see green.


ArtSparker said...

Your garden is beautiful.