I don’t know about you, but the last couple of months have felt like a blur.
It’s like we’ve taken up residence alongside Bill Murray and we’re living in a Groundhog’s Day world. Each numbered box on the calendar bleeds like ink, one into the other.
Thoroughly convinced that yesterday was Wednesday (which, at the time of writing this post is actually today), and that an upcoming, most-likely canceled camping trip we’ve had on the calendar for a couple of month is only a week and a half away (instead of its actual two and a half weeks away), I finally threw my hands into the air. I give up. So much for knowing what day it is, let alone trying to parcel out any calendared sort of significance in a season marked by unknown ambiguity and mystery.
I do the only thing I can do and dive deep into the present moment. I find our days are marked by a rough and tumble, organic sort of rhythm.
In the morning, the boys and I snuggle on the couch and read Harry Potter, coffee in one hand, feathery boy hair in the other. We sit at the dining room table, drinking our smoothies and doing our schoolwork – phonics, writing, and math, repeat. The boys jump on half hour calls with their classes at 10 and 12:30 respectively; we eat lunch and build forts and ride our bikes up and down our street in the moments in-between.
By early afternoon, when the required schoolwork is complete, rhythms of rest and play take up room in our house: we lay on the floor of the living room or in camping chairs in the backyard. We read even more books aloud to one another. We dig our hands into the dirt, plucking weeds and spraying pesky aphids and scoping out the perfect spot for a pumpkin patch. We notice how the cucumber stalks seem to be the thirstiest plant of all; we stare in wonder when the kale sprouts new leaves from pruned stems.
For me, and I think for my sons as well, I find new life in the dirt. I too wonder whether “…the love of soil [is] part of our DNA,” as Christine Aroney-Sine muses in The Gift of Wonder (94).
It’s like the backyard garden has become the only calendar that marks our days.
Novice though I may be, I dig my hands into the dirt, a mixture of soil and worm castings and compost caking my fingernail beds. I smile when my older son dubs himself “The Master Gardener,” and we spend a lazy morning watching YouTube videos about regrowing onions and celery and pineapple from the discarded ends of a vegetable. I read gardening books and squeal my way through seed catalogues, wondering if we too can spread a bit of creation’s delight to strangers and friends alike.
One idea, of course, is to seed bomb our neighborhood. In the aforementioned book, Aroney-Sine asks the reader whether there are places in our own neighborhoods that can be “healed or made beautiful by planting seeds?”
Seed bombs are most fun when thrown into neglected roundabouts, civic spaces, flowerbeds, and neglected planters. Lob a bomb from a bicycle, a car window, or when passing on foot. And just as nature spreads seed at certain times of the year, so our seed bombs are most effective in spring and autumn, or when we plan our attacks to coincide with heavy rainfall. (107)
A guerrilla gardener I am not, but a practitioner of beauty I am. So, who knows? Maybe seed balls await our future gardening plans, as we spread a little bit of love and joy to the neglected spaces in our city.
But in the meantime, we’ll keep digging our hands into the dirt, the rhythm of our days marked by lettuce beds and spinach patches, the places of this earth noticed and cared for and tended with love.
Groundhog’s Day, rhythms of the garden and seed-bombing: what say you? How are you finding new life in what sometimes feels like old days?
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