Gardening promotes personal transformation

Watering can

This morning while weeding potatoes, I was thinking about secret growth. So much of what evolves in life is hidden, especially during winter but even now. The potatoes I dug into the soil four weeks ago are now tossing up deep green leaves, embracing sunlight, photosynthesizing food, but an essential part of their work goes on in the dark.

In the interface of soil, roots, bacteria, fungi, worms, protozoa, worms and tiny bugs engage in a wealthy economy of nutrients. I participate in soil ecology by feeding them worm compost and providing moisture when necessary. Later I will harvest tubers for many meals and save a few to plant again next spring, perpetuating their genetic material.

So many things have come together recently, I’m amazed. Some blessings have come from outside, but many of the changes are internal. A daily ritual I started in January has turned me into more of a morning person. I also found a system that has motivated me into exercising regularly for the past two months, so I feel more fit and energetic than I have for years.

Also earlier this year I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder. Recent circumstances allowed me to recognize how it had affected me while going undetected since childhood. The diagnosis led to tools that have improved my concentration and short-term memory to a startling degree. Writing has suddenly become a lot easier. I can hardly remember a time when I felt so absorbed and content in my work.

But the part of the day that makes me happiest is 15 minutes of gardening as part of my morning ritual. I reconnect with the soil, sunlight and the slow, grounded way plants live and interact with their surroundings. The alienation from nature I used to experience is left far behind and long ago. This isn’t hard work. It took some initial discipline but has turned into a habit I savour and look forward to when I get out of bed. It’s extremely simple.

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