Sunday, May 19, 2013

Wise Earth

I'm not sure if this post will ever get written. It will take many days for sure.

This is not because I have infinite words to express (although the expression of the earth is infinitely wise), but because I have suddenly found myself the head mistress of a true blue farm. And it's spring time, and the days are long, and outside is so much more enticing than inside, and my garden wants me and my animals need me and my children desire all my attention and everyone needs to be fed and maybe a dish or two washed and the laundry's been sitting there for a week and the woods are oh so lovely this time of year. And then it's time for bed.

Does that make any sense? Probably not. But just keep reading, because I'm drinking my first cup of yerba mate in a month (since before my cleanse) and it'll kick in in a few minutes, and I'll start spouting the enchanted poetry of my soul.

I hear my poetry best in the evenings. Evenings are one of my favorite times of day. The light lasts so long, I'm able to get in some blessed garden time once the kids are curled up in bed, faces angelic with the serenity of sleep. If it's been cloudy during the day, or rainy, or windy (as it is apt to get up here on our hill), it is usually clear by evening time, and the garden glows with the last rays of the sun. It is quiet but for the singing birds, and nobody is there to divert my attention from the lovely earth. As I sit, hands in the soil, gardening questions on my mind, the earth shares her wisdom and suddenly I know what must be done.

1. The soil up here in our sweet little coastal range is generally full of clay. There are a few sections of my garden where the soil is like butter, but most of it is heavy and dense. It takes a long time to dry out, and if dug too soon, turns into clay rocks when the sun shines. This lesson I learned well this year, as lovely March and April weather got my garden hands itching. In my eagerness to plant as soon as possible, I worked the earth too soon, and gradually my plants were growing out of hard, cracked earth. Where was the butter? Thankfully the earth's wisdom came to my rescue, telling me to break up the surface soil (with a trowel and my hands, strong hands) and mulch.

2. I have a new game plan. Last year I played around a bit with no dig gardening, and I'm going to try it again. We have a large patch of ground that will be home to corn and squash. Anthony rototilled it up for me, but the resulting soil does not inspire images of abundance. I mulched it with straw to retain moisture, with the intention of removing the straw at planting time. But one night, as I sat in my garden under the gaze of the new moon, the earth spoke to me. I understood. My clay soil wants top soil built upon it. Lots and lots and lots of top soil. And thanks to the chickens, ducks, and horses, I have plenty of poopy straw just waiting to break down into beautiful composted soil. So, my corn patch: I'm going to leave the straw in place. I'm going to spread a layer of horse manure [mixed with straw] over the top of it, followed by a layer of mostly decomposed compost, followed by a layer of soil (which we did have to buy). Into that soil my seeds will be planted, and as their roots grow, they will find rich layers of organic matter to nourish them to glorious maturity.

3. Gardening is a constant lesson of finding balance. Of patience, of faith. Of loosening control. Of listening. I love the courageous sunflowers and nasturtiums and cosmos and bachelor buttons and sweet peas that spring up wherever their soul desires, in this bed or that corner or the middle of the path. I leave them where they sprout, grateful for their blessings. Flowers are as important to me as the food I grow, and they appease the creative fires inside me. Fresh bouquets are a fountain of joy.

4. In prior times of my life, art was one of my main creative passions. The open pages of my journal eagerly accepted my voracious creativity as I collaged, painted, and wrote. It is a rare day that I create art like that any more, as my life exuberantly fills with other endeavors. More and more I am seeing that my garden is my canvas, and my creativity flourishes as flowers from the earth. Especially as the fenced field this garden once was develops into a more defined space, I am able to apply my energy ever more creatively.

5. The enchanted poetry of my soul flows best at night, when my world reduces down to me and the earth on my hands. The words flow through my mind like water in a river ["everything is governed by rule of one thing leads to another. We can't really place blame, 'cause blame is much too messy. Some was bound to get on you, when you were trying to put it on me." Sorry - old Ani Difranco song that I recently rediscovered and am re- in love with.) If only someone were listening in on my brain and transcribing those graceful words for me, I would produce brilliant posts every day. But instead, I enjoy them in solitude, pausing to look at the golden blue gray light of the clouds and the setting sun. I look back down at my hands and the earth speaks to me.

6. She tells me secrets about myself. She reminds me of my ancient being and ways of living that feed my soul. She nourishes me. She is faithful, she is generous, she is abundant blessings.

7. I am almost finished with a new garden bed. It is totally awesome, I must admit. And I made it as I planned to above in point #2, although it is not in the corn patch. And never again will I attempt digging out our clay soil. Oh no baby, I build right on top. Everyone is very happy (the plants, the earth, me). And the children are happy. They love using their shovels, filling wheelbarrows, climbing dirt mountains, digging holes, and generally getting dirty and being silly. And I have sweet satisfaction in my creative heart.

8. My life is full to the brim, and fuller it will get. I learn how to balance the barely contained chaos. I flow with the earth and the moon and my body and my family and learn to live my joy. I see my personal journey mirrored in the cosmos: the healing of feminine energy, the balance of the masculine. Receiving the energy of the Universe, I feed it back down to the earth. The Earth: her wisdom resides under my fingernails, permanently fixed in the crevices of my hands. I hold her close to my heart. I heed her words.

9.  May your hands dig deep in the earth. May you listen closely and heed the sage words of our Mother. May we all receive her blessings, opening to her healing ways. May we live in harmonious balance.


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