“In time of crisis people want to know that you care, more than they care what you know”
How will we remember this spring of 2020? What we remember? How much we learned about coronavirus or how much we discovered we cared about things we took for granted? I’ve been reading lots of garden blogs and articles with the general theme of “gardening isn’t canceled.” And it is true that I’ve been spending more time planting seeds and pulling weeds this month. How about you?
If you have a large garden, or “property,” as we sometimes call it when we have more open (possibly weedy) space than landscaped area, you know there’s never an end to the outdoor chores. Not all of them are inspiring and bucolic. A quite good number of them are boring and physically difficult and must be done whether there’s a “stay at home” order or our calendars are overbooked. But some of the chores are enjoyable and all of them are satisfying when completed. Then comes the enjoyment of close observing. Sometimes this happens while working too, like noticing the tiny fruit when looking for pest insects or watching the pollinators work as you are weeding around a plant.
If you have a small garden and it’s already in great shape, you can still observe it every day. (Observing= enjoying.) And you can enjoy public gardens and nature. It’s only people we must distance ourselves from this spring. It’s great we can still get close to the trees and wildflowers and droplets of rain. What if every living thing carried this virus? EEEEEK.
This spring, there is a renewed opportunity to slow down and enjoy the sights of spring. The opportunity is there, of course, regardless of the season or the presence of an extremely contagious and dangerous virus and asymptomatic carriers, so perhaps it is that we have fewer excuses this year and/or slowing down and noticing small things seems like it might help our mental and physical health and so has become more of a priority? Am I right in thinking that if you are reading this, the desire to observe and rejoice in the garden, flora of the outdoor park or nature trail, or even in the landscape strip at the local grocery store is something you enjoyed doing even before Covid-19?
How then, can we take these pictures I’ve posted here, and others you are no doubt creating on your phones or in your minds and use them for positive ends? I’ve never embraced the view that looking at nature makes all my desires and troubles unimportant. Sorry, but myself, my family and my friends are still important. But by observing things in nature, I feel like I am connected to something stable. I care specifically about the plants in my garden and the trees at the local park at least partly because I have observed them closely for some time. I think that helps me care about everything, even trees I’ve never met or other people’s gardens, and other people outside my close circle.
I don’t have to precisely put all that into words every time I see a flower or watch the horses graze in the pasture. In fact, almost always I am only thinking banal thoughts like, “Oh, that’s pretty,” or “Oh, that’s interesting,” or self-judgmental thoughts like “Oh, those weeds have got to be pulled TODAY. Why didn’t I pull them already?”
This month I have had time to realize what I really want to do and the things I don’t want to do but told myself I would do “if I only had the time.” And that is a kind of close observing too, of myself. According to the sunsigns.org website, “Spring is a time for us to embark on new journeys and start new projects with fresh ideas.”
Hope all of you stay well and gardening-on. How will we remember our spring 2020?