This is a great time of year for someone like me. I love flowering plants and I especially love trees. Unfortunately, I live in a second-floor city apartment with a small back porch. But every spring I shop for plants. And I fill planters and pots.
Once in a while, I wonder why I spend my (limited) time, money and energy on this. Why do I work so hard to do something that almost no one can see or appreciate and that lasts for just a few months? I spend my precious spare time on designing (I actually make little diagrams of what flowers and colors I want and where), shopping, and then planting, watering and doing battle with my squirrel friends to keep my little patch of nature looking beautiful.
There is no practical reason for this activity. Given the amount of sun and the small space, I don’t grow anything I could actually eat. I tried: One summer I planted tomatoes, basil, parsley… nothing thrived. Only impatiens, petunias and morning glories enjoy living in this space.
I don’t relish getting dirty, sweaty and tired, but every summer I do it. I love to see plants grow. There is something about the beauty of green things–the leaves, the flowers, the vines and stems, the smell of dirt–that give me hope and joy.
Writer Anne Lamott once wrote, “puttering is my yoga.” Well, gardening is my yoga. I don’t have a great venue for it, but even with the limitations, I am grateful for what I can do and what it gives back. I feel closer to God when I am in the presence of trees and leaves, flowers, dirt and rain. I feel relaxed, connected and refreshed.
How about you? Do you have a garden? Do you enjoy being in the presence of plants and trees? Or do you have another hobby that gives you joy, connects you to God, and that helps you stay centered?
Kate Sprutta Elliott is the editor of Gather magazine. She supplied the photos.