Ah, the contentment of soil underneath my fingernails; or I should say, the act of getting soil underneath my fingernails. I may sound like a broken record for the next six months, as I write that I often feel most at peace in my garden.
There are two reasons for this. The first is that gardening is a multi-sensory experience, bringing me “into the now,” crowding out the Anxiety I sometimes feel, forcing my worries about the past and fears of the future to recede. And second, and an extension of the first, it is somewhat like meditating, as I engage in the rote work of garden chores (e.g. weeding, picking produce, inspecting my plants and produce).
This weekend the work begins. Tomorrow, I will see, feel, and smell healthy soil, as I survey my backyard and then fill pots and plant some flowers. I will notice the noises of my neighborhood, which are sounds I am often oblivious to. I will repair my raised beds, hopefully keeping them viable plots for planting for a couple more years as rot is just beginning to take its toll on the cedar structures.
On either Saturday or Sunday (depending on the pace of Saturday’s work) I will top off my raised beds with a mix of top soil, compost, and composted manure, which is surprisingly a beautiful smell. I will also plant my salad fixings (i.e. lettuce, spinach, arugula, and orach), peas, and onion sets.
And, depending on how dirty my fingernails are, I will likely get out my camera to document it all. I can just imagine the wondrous sight of pea seeds in wide swaths underneath my makeshift trellises and the adventurous placement of onion sets in many of the beds, as onions complement so many other plants.
In the days that follow I will inspect the garden, looking for evidence of new plant life. I almost zone out the rest of life as I peer into the soil looking for greenery where only two weeks ago mounds of snow made it hard to imagine gardening season would ever begin.
Ah, the contentment …