It is a holiday weekend in Canada, sort of the unofficial kickoff to summer and therefore an opening of the gardening season. Some years the weather is sunny and warm, allowing for us to be outside to our hearts’ content and other years, well, it’s cool and bit dreary.
This year, it’s cold and so I am inside with my thoughts. My seedlings are two months old and some of them are monstrous. These plants have always been destined for outside, and I am ready to get them there, where they can settle in and among each other until winter. As a gardener, I have a great deal of trust and respect for what the plants and the land I tend can do. I have learned to grow my own food and medicines, nourishing myself and loved ones. I have observed the cycles of the year and know how the plants will respond to a variety of factors in their environment. I dutifully move them inside and out each day, stretching their tolerance for the elements. I believe in stretching, to a point. To find the space beyond what is, but before damage is inflicted is always the goal. But growing is complicated and life is layered, for plants and humans, alike.
When growing is stifled, when there is suffering, at the bottom are always unmet needs. And though it is difficult to be present with suffering of any kind, we are wise to tune into it, if only to augment our choices to support living.
We can learn so much from our relationship with nature. When needs are unmet in the natural world, adaptation or death occur. Sometimes it works for an organism to change for the environment. Other times, the only solution is to change the environment. Sometimes we are unsure of the answers and though we are aware that lack of action won’t lead to thriving, we are best suited to do nothing for a time. We wait and listen. Just like a peony, which cannot bloom if its roots are planted too deep, when we come to know what we need to grow, there is no need to question ourselves. When we know, we are prepared to act.
Be brave. Delve. Know yourself, both inside and outside of your environment. But the most important of these is to really just get to know yourself. From there you can learn what you need to grow.