I used to follow all the fashion trends. Chasing the best deals for high heels stilettos pumps. Flipping through every new release of Cosmopolitan. Frantically rummaging through the racks for the best
sale, actually just following the crowd of what was considered “hot”. I dreamed of white picket fences, an out of this world cookie cutter suburban big house stocked with every item that I could imagine.
Oh my, how have the tides changed. Now I droll over vegetable seeds. Hardly containing my excitement walking down the vegetable rows, inspecting plants to see which will pass the test of what a strong healthy plant looks like. At night instead of dreaming of what I will wear tomorrow, I dream of a farm with chickens, fruit trees, glorious rows and playful colors of all the vegetables I could imagine, and my boys running, getting filthy right by my side.
Taking the first steps of this new season at the Andres’ Community Garden I reflect on last years nervous excitement. What it felt like to see the first sprout taking off from the earth. Wondering if a seed would really produce anything at all. Hearing the crunch of green beans in my mouth, cutting a fresh broccoli for the first time. Feeling deep satisfaction of learning, along side my husband and children as we unravel the beauty that this earth possesses. Going beyond the norm, the countless rows of packed mega grocery stores, traffic jams in the chip aisle, aimlessly wandering a store where I have no regard of where it all comes from.
Just like an old acquaintance, I am picking up just where we left off with the garden. However, I am already discovering there are new things that I didn’t cherish or realize in the first season of sustainable gardening. I had recently gotten my nails done with a friend for the first time in 7 years, the younger me would not have thought twice about possibly ruining these finely polished beauties. I couldn’t help but dig my hands in the dirt, sift the earth between my fingers, watch the soil seep into my wedding ring. There was no remorse. Only gladness that I know I have finally found where I belong. Ankle deep in the soil, teaching my sons how to take pride in what they eat, admiring my husband and his growing passion for whole food, and enjoying the company of others who can relate to the simplicity of life.
Last season I enjoyed the concept of a pasture, the alpacas and goats roaming beneath the community garden. I thought they were cute, satisfied that my boys were exposed to an animal around them besides a pet hamster named Squiggles. As I dug through the earth, preparing a home for the cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli, I imagined what the root system would look like in the soil. And then it hit me. I haven’t looked past the surface. I was approaching the garden from a superficial level. This community garden is possible from the animals around me, their manure is the back bone of this thriving garden. I stared at Marvin the Goat as he roamed about, chewing on the grass below him, interacting with the boys as they slip freshly plucked carrots through the fence. In my life I have always seen animals as purely another existence, their importance was only if their meat was tasty and on sale. I used to feel like this concept would seem hippie or ridiculous, but I truly give thanks for Marvin the Goat. Without their organic material, the veggies I will bring home to my family would not be possible.
My oldest son recently asked me what trees breathe. Waves of endless hours of science classes flooded my thoughts, sadly I still had to think long and hard about my answer. ”Oxygen” I answered him. But that was the length of it. Although this give and take relationship is vital to my existence, I still sweep the importance under the rug. And that is why this little plot of land is so valuable. It broadens my mind, encourages me to put down the ipod, take noise out of my ears, pause this fast paced lifestyle to think about the intangible concepts of this human existence. To find peace in the wind hitting my skin.