I can’t believe I’m going to write a blog entry about gardening. The fact of the matter is that I love to garden, and I think that engaging through gardening can be awesome.
My dad kept a little plot in our backyard for a couple years when I was a kid, growing huge tall corn in the Nebraska sun, along with watermelons, cucumbers, and tomatoes. I remember being aware that it stuck out a bit in the ‘hood where we lived, but it was cool. As an adult I’ve kept a garden at different points, sometimes vegetables, and these last few years just flowers. This year my daughter Hannah and I are planting vegetables, melons, and berries, and it’s going to be another good growing season.
English poet Alfred Austin wrote, “Show me your garden and I shall tell you what you are.” This is a good call, as those of us who do garden tend to put ourselves into what we do. Some gardeners keep meticulous rows and polite growth, encouraging specific outcomes and nurturing deliberate sizes, shapes, and colors of the plants they love. Others grow things in patches and parcels, letting nature spread and grow in fits and starts, and pulling weeds when they invade. Others still sprinkle seeds and water at will, letting native growth and nurtured growth mingle together in a tender dance while gathering the joy as it blooms. Some folks are snippers, clipping cuttings and gathering flowers as they shoot out. Others let it lie, simply appreciating what comes when it grows, and letting go of it when its done.
This is engagement at its simplest. We can keep giant connections filled with variety and wonder, or pocket parties with politeness and ease. Find those things that set you alive within yourself, things you already have lasting connections with, and grow them comfortably the way you want to. Then see how you’re engaged with them, and if you want to, go and engage with other things that way, too.