I’ve been thinking a lot about a post one of the members of my Linked In gardening group scooped a few weeks ago.
The article is entitled, “Slow Gardening”
It’s a truly simple idea — slowing down, taking time, savoring every moment in the garden, enjoying every task you do.
That’s a pretty straightforward approach. What fascinates me about it is I never thought of it. My garden was like everything else in my life, factored into a schedule that included work, cleaning, laundry, shopping, and the 100 other tasks that simply chew every day up and spit it out.
Slow gardening – the concept alone – sat me back on my heels. There are gardening tasks I hate…like cleaning up in the fall. Maybe this concept stunned me because under the slow gardening banner, I don’t have to do it all, all in one day. I could take my time, savor the hours in the sun, feeling the wind on my face, playing with my dogs while cleaning up the plants that provided us with food all summer long.
My whole approach to gardening, something I’ve been doing for nigh on to 30 years, has changed. Peace, not tension, not the need to “get it done,” accompanies me out into my garden, now.
I am rethinking every aspect of my life starting with why I found it necessary to sprint through each day. Why did I have to “accomplish” everything on my list to feel like I was worth the space and fuel I use? What was I running from? Or to?
My life is starting to change, slowly moving in the direction of relaxing and enjoying every moment of it including those tasks I used to hate, used to avoid.
For example, instead of processing 6 cases of cauliflower bought at the Amish auction in 12 back-to-back hours – I took my time. Over 2 days, with breaks to make pear butter, read a book and sit on the deck in the sunshine, most of those 21 huge, glorious heads of delicious, versatile cauliflower were cleaned, cut into florets, blanched, packed and frozen.
Some were “riced” and cooked with peppers, onions, summer squash and tomatoes from my garden to make a beautiful and healthy dinner and the rest were riced and frozen.
Slow gardening gave me permission to enjoy slow living — no rush, no hurry. Have to pick up horse blankets in Lancaster County, enjoy the ride. Visit Stoltzfus to order bird seed? Savor the beautiful country side on a crisp, clear fall day. Go to the library and visit with a neighbor who just happened to be there. Head to Maryland to take a lesson with Caitlin Adams or just groom and longe my horse, slow way down, brush his coat until it gleams. Spend an hour just holding him, talking to him.
Our time together is calming and soothing for both of us and now, thanks to slow gardening – slow living, I enjoy every moment of it.
This glorious time with my horse is a gift, now.
Gardening has always given me many gifts, as well. My love of earth, my joy at starting seeds and seeing life emerge from each tiny pot and my pride and joy at being able to use, save, can, freeze and enjoy all these gifts from my garden have truly filled my heart.
But now, all aspects of my life have been enhanced, warmed and slowed down by the “Slow Gardening” movement.
Ina country where speed is considered a blessing and volume of work thought to be the holy grail of employers, I hope that this movement will start to take root in the United States.
Slowing down, enjoying every detail of every task no matter how mundane or boring brings such depth to my life, such warmth to my soul. I hope others can give themselves the same permission to stop running, slow down and live.
Cindy Meredith owns the Herb Cottage and publishes a newsletter of the same name. Cindy is also one of the founding members of Grow Girls Grow Organic – a Linked In groups for organic gardeners (guys, too) from around the world.
Thanks Cindy for sharing this marvelous idea.