Farmer's Strong HandsEd Clark
Reconnecting with the earth is something a gardener does every year. There is a necessary time of dormancy in wintertime which is exacerbated for Northern gardeners like myself.
That time of absence from the work of the garden, even from the presence of nature itself is something of a disconnection with time and season. As if I am suspended in the world of my own making, with artificial light and heat, and so covered with layers of clothing that I am even somewhat disconnected with my own body. Making my plans, centering on my own goals.
Some years I create connections in some of the ways we who garden try to circumvent winter: caring for houseplants, forcing bulbs, starting our seedlings; but never making that true, deep reconnection. Not until we thrust our hands into the mellowed soil of our gardens do we seem to make the link between ourselves and the earth once again. Rich earth warmed in springtime sunshine, readied by our own labors for a new growing season. It is then that we have made the transferal from one season to another.
It reminds me of other reconnections, those of our important relationships, in which we make contact in the march of time. For all our reconstructions of meeting with electronic means, nothing is as good a ground as personal rendezvous, whether a simple date for coffee or a planned reunion to strengthen family ties. Sometimes we need to touch.
Spring opens the ground for us to participate once again in the partnership of regrowth. We accept the invitation to lend our hands to nature and imprint our own love of her on mellow earth. We look for future reward of harvest, or visions of beauty, but it is the reconnection that begins to nourish our souls in ways that nothing else seems to be able.
Our strained concepts of art and music cannot even compete with the power of the natural world to speak to us, absorb our sorrows, or magnify our joys. Maybe because the reconnection with the soil is simpler, more primal, and more easily understood. I wonder if our ideas of music and art have not been diminished by the alienation of our society from the rudimentary labors of such things as growing a tomato or a flower.
I would submit the idea that reconnecting with the earth gives our minds and senses a sharpened ability to appreciate other more abstract things.
Perhaps that is reaching too far, embellishing what itself is a satisfying meal for the soul. It is February, as we still have weeks of winter yet to pass, but there is something of spring in the air, and I am anticipating the day when the warmth of the sun soaks into my garden. The fragrance of an awakening season will invite me to sink my hands into the dirt, turning up its contents in readiness for the seeds I will expectantly pat into its furrows.
And I will again reconnect.
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© 2012 written for Ilona's Garden Journal by Ilona E. An excellent blog.