Humble Beginnings From Torn Up Roots…

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Grapes growing, wildly overgrown, in my yard. Can’t wait to taste their ripened sweetness again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It has only happened once… maybe twice, when I have tasted a grape, the kind with seeds inside and I could taste my childhood.  There was a forgotten grape vine in my backyard yet I was always there, as a child, gleaning from that wild vine…

Within every suburban/urban yard there is life! Life in those flower beds, life in that green grass, life in the city limit lot that you now own or rent. We, as North Americans, mostly maintain own our little city plots of land…this is what we have, this is what we work with, this is our claim.

I have a dream to live in the country one of these days…Oh yes, one of these days I want to live and breathe and smell the country air with all of my heart and soul.  However, today is not that day… and if everyone wanted to live in the country we would no longer have country.

The city is an interesting place, an energetic magnet of thousands upon thousands of people with voices and opinions; diversity pulsing through it’s ebb and flow… and of course there are the real-time responsibilities of  jobs and needs and homes and yards and…yet… within the crazy hectic beating heart of the civic lands there is the inherent desire to stretch out, the appetite to smell the roses so to speak; to reach our arms high into the patterns of the sky and shout, “I- am – Freeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!!!!” Like wild beasts raising our chests to the thunder of freedom after the lightning strikes.

I know we all feel that. I know we all want that. I know…  because I feel it too.

I say, make revolution where you are at. Anywhere that you stand. Peaceful revolution.  I am!… OR more honestly– I WANT TO! That is why I write! I desire to write with the voice that I want to be and the vision and hopes and dreams and the current of what is and what I want to see.

I cannot say that my humble garden, a first year gardener, as a rudimentary edible creationist, is ever going to make front page news! However, I can say that we can make use of our lots in a simple kind of way… we can make some amazing things out of our small or regular sized plots of earth. You and I, let us do this together. Far and wide, close and cozy, let us do this collectively! With each garden, each edible landscape; with every bit of bee and butterfly friendly plants measured into your safe and anti-chemical yards; we can create a revolution together.  Not one little humble garden but many!

I have heard those doubts in my mind of, “Oh I will farm or garden or grow things or take care of animals when I move away from the city, when I have more room.” OR “I am too busy right now, and I don’t have a spot for a garden.” Anywhere that there is earth you can grow, I can grow, life will thrive if we let it!

There is no longer space for that doubtful frame of mind. I know far too many revolutionary artisans of the urban garden, caretakers of the backyard chickens, and makers of bee-keeping whom all live within the city in their regular lots… hence I can no longer say, “yes, let’s wait till we have more room to grow…”

NO! I am here in my city home, I can grow a garden… Then what is next, what more will happen later? I know that by taking one small baby step forward, new things will be added, life is happening. You can take a stroll through my humble garden.  It would take you 1 or 2 minutes to see all there is to see within my 3 long coffin-like garden beds streaming with life.  I am a writer so I passionately write on what fills me with inspiration, even the most simplistic of things; I write as if it is the most epic happenstance of all of history. I am daily filled by an outpouring of affection for my humble little first time garden and I am excited about what may grow from this.

I know many neighbors and friends that may have organic life exploding out of their yards, much more than I do; more robust with more seeds sowed and massive amounts harvested and I envy such beauty, in a loving-awestruck way. I am thankful for their example and efforts and I hold them as exemplary humans to seek wisdom and understanding from.

You see, as a child, I was hardly taught to live like this, I wasn’t trained to be a gardener by example, but I was surely trained to be a consumer. Yet there were those every other weekend hikes in the summer months to “Terabithia” with my father where he taught me to dance with the trees of the forest, and to pick mushrooms and to smell the pines and firs of the great trees. I love him for that, He taught me the seeds of change in that particular way.

My father was the cultivator, a man whom I had no idea that he had wisdom to grow life until I was in high school and he started with the only garden that I can remember in a rental that we lived in on those rare weekends. I am sure he gardened before that, in fact I know he did; I grew up in the deserted remnants of his garden work, with wild grape vines and empty rabbit cages on that far side of our forgotten yard,  but the garden in the backyard of his rental when I was 16 was the first one that I can remember him tending to.

So much of my life seems to have to do with what was lost… I want to cultivate and grow things, and in some way it makes me feel like I am re-birthing the empty spots of my childhood.

I am a feeler, one of those people that deeply senses everything. My intuition is on hyper drive and I can understand where most people are at. I think that comes with the territory of trying to find oneself at the same time.

My humble garden is growing better than I had ever expected! My modest suburban yard, it is nothing but yellowed grass under this sun-burnt summer sky. I am merely a writer, that expresses the simple things of every day life, if we all would just sit down and write about our little yards, wow what a phenomenal anthem that might be!

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The Branches Must Never Forget Their Roots…

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The branches must never forget their roots; for if they do, they too, will be lost.”  – Author Unknown. 

Now it is time that we sink back into the earth of our “homeland” and press our roots into the soil.  Last February we signed our names onto the official documents claiming our first home.  A year before that we finally moved back to our hometown in Washington State after years of transient life in Hawaii and Alaska.   From long gaps of being away and then finally coming home we have found that it feels like we are starting all over: rekindling old relationships, letting go of what was and making new starts; assessing life goals and aspirations, learning to build community when all we have known is our own little world of Hawaiian sun and beaches, moving endlessly, addicted to change for the 5 years that we were away.

The biggest change after deciding to come home was the purchase of our new house, a 1960’s fixer upper tucked into a corner lot of an older suburban neighborhood. The new house symbolized a sense permanency, which both scared me and gave me peace at the same time. With this new mortgage commitment has come the reality of far too many undertakings in order to build up a place to call home while having to deal with leaky pipes every weekend and one thing needing replaced after another.  To top it off we also have the task of turning a neglected yard that was beaten and bruised by round-up weed killing chemicals and other poisons of that nature for years and years.

I have been learning that the dirt of the earth is a lot like our stomachs.  We have to take care of ourselves in order to maintain healthy flora and when our gut is healthy we flourish.  The same idea is also true for our our soil.  We are the caretakers of this earth and what we put into the soil effects the health of its alkalinity, its “flora”, so to speak, and we can create a harvest ground for good; for the enrichment of the earth or a place of death that births imbalance and fake beauty for the cost of toxicity.  I will get into that in detail later as I am just getting started here. 😉

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Combating the jungle one weed at a time.

This summer, which sadly has now come to an abrupt end, was a time for me to get down and dirty in my new yard.  This involved pulling hundreds upon hundreds of choking weeds that had inhabited the garden beds and strangled so many plants that were trying desperately to thrive. This involved getting rashes on my arms and neck from who knows what was in the dust of that dry dirt and creating new places of beauty.  While I spent so many hours out there in the love feeding sunshine digging with my hands deep in the earth, something remarkable happened to me.  Something magical that I can only describe as spiritual.  I fell in love with the dirt.  The smell, the feel, the life from within it. The energy!  The fibers of our beings are built up from the earth, and we eat from the dirt, and our bodies will nourish the dirt again someday.  Its a fascinating cycle and to ignore this very giving element that we walk upon every day is to ignore life itself.  Our Creator made no mistakes in the circle and community of life.

Maybe I found this connection with the soil because I chose to only use my hands and the work of my labor to bring new life to my yard.  It is really a simple thing to go outside and do yard work, it just takes time and commitment. But when you stop for a moment and analyze the suburban destruction that often goes into place when so many homes are maintaining chemical lawns, the results are profoundly negative for our earth.  I felt that maybe because I chose to work hard rather than to find a quick solution with a chemical spray gun, I was able to connect with this new piece of land in a deeper way.  So this summer as I became dear friends with my grass, my trees, my flowers, my dirt, even my weeds… I made a vow… I promised to this little plot of land of mine, that I would not put anything into it that would destruct natures natural way of life.

As my inspiration and love for the beauty of this earth continues to grow I am finding a hunger to learn.  With all of this change I have been encouraged and I aspire to create a more sustainable life for myself and my family.  I really am clueless, I am a learning spring chicken (so to speak), and therefore with an open mind I have started my adventure.  This being my fresh infant post of this blog, I would love to invite you to join me in my journey of learning to become a caretaker of the soil, learning to become more of a self sustainable human on this earth and also taking on the challenge of homeschooling my two children for the first time, as well as pursuing my college dreams.  I have my hands full, but I would much rather have my hands full, then to have them empty. So much newness all at once, with overwhelming challenges, my convictions push me to tread onward because my spirit would be rotting if I did not allow myself to find freedom in knowledge, change and progression.

– Jenny Rose

(This post above was written in October of 2013, it is now February 2015 and I am still onward with this path. The soil in our yard is healing! Our home renovation is still underway, at least 40% completed…ha ha ha, it takes time, this one was a major fixer upper. I nearly have my bachelors degree. I am still homeschooling my kids, the change within them is amazing. I have learned to garden, and still learning, I am still composting, I will be studying herbology starting next month as an apprentice and I am planted within a local church community. Why am I listing all of this? It is because looking back on my first blog post, it is encouraging to know that I am still taking steps in the same direction… For once in my life I am hanging onto things and practicing them in a real way. I am a wanderer at heart, so sticking to things is something new for me. I have had a tendency to scatter myself as a sower releases seeds across the land, except in my case all of the seeds are pieces of myself that I have planted in many directions, only to find that my roots were shallow because there were too many pieces of myself stretched out into too many directions. Since 2013, I have slowly begun to form into a person that seeks simplicity in my lives direction, not to hide from challenges, but to hone into what I can do in my life that I feel is well with my soul. I love the line from Little Women where Jo says, “I should have been a great many things…” I have always connected with that, with whatever I find myself doing I become incredibly passionate about it, and I can see myself being good at many many things, but if I stretch my talents into too many things, I will never become good at anything and then I just feel fizzled out. So here I am reflecting on my original inspirations in this phase of my life and I am still stepping forward into this rich path that we call life. I am thankful that I am finally learning to find direction, although I can’t fully say what that is, but I can feel it happening right before with each step that I take and I am at peace with the bends and curves, and hilltops to climb, I am at peace with it; although it is hardly easy…  peace and love to you!  – Jenny Rose )