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Friday, August 2, 2013

Barefoot in the Garden

Rachael Brugger
Sr. Associate Web Editor

And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair. —Kahlil Gibran (HobbyFarms.com)

This morning was one of those perfect mornings you rarely get in the middle of summer. The air had cooled from the mugginess that had bore down on our area for the past couple weeks. I woke up at the alarm’s call (not having to press snooze and fall back asleep), showered, poured myself a glass of tea and headed out to the porch for some early-morning reading before the day pulled me into action. Of course, my plans to "sit and read” never quite go over as such, and in a matter of moments I found the garden beckoning.

At the wee hour of the morning, the green tomatoes and crawling pumpkin vines were still covered in a blanket of tranquility, and I was able to spend some precious quality time with these plants. Instead of frantically working to stake their out-of-control vines and squish invasive pests, I walked barefoot among the rows purely to enjoy the plants’ presence. Here and there, I’d snip a rogue limb or pluck a perfectly ripened fruit, but the cultivation of a relationship between person and plant is what prevailed in those moments.

It’s amazing what wonderful therapy the simple act of skin on earth can be for a person. Our connection with our gardens and our land soothes and calms like nothing else can. How easy is it to forget that we do indeed have a relationship with the crops that we grow? We give birth to new life through the planting of their seeds, nurture their growth, delight in the preparation their fruits and mourn their passing as winter moves in. To think of farming and gardening only as an occupation—as something we do—does both us and the plants a disservice. Khalil Gibran, a noted Lebanese poet, reminds us that building relationships with our environments also benefits not only ourselves, but the environment, as well. He stated this idea beautifully when he wrote, "And forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.”

Needless to say, before the clock struck 8 a.m., I already found my feet covered in earth (so much for that shower), but it served as a lovely reminder to take time to delight in the gifts our gardens give us.    

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