I can picture each and every garden I've tickled, or has tickled me...
From that old neglected acre of fruit trees in my high school Ag class, to the mini alfalfa garden for the fat little guinea pigs, or my own little food and medicine gardens that tend to get bigger each and every year, and the community gardens that I give my heart to and ask nothing in return and all the gardens of friends and loved ones I've dug my hands into and beyond. Heh, I even dream of new ones waiting for me. Each unique. Each very special. Each stuffed with food and medicines and those lessons that can't be found anywhere else ever. Tons and tons of lessons. Lessons for those who wish to learn....
There is hard earned sweat and joy. Disappointment. Patience. Oh and those blackberry claws that reach out for your attention, and the spruces that wanna braid your hair and those milk thistle pokies arguing with you over their trusty seeds. And callouses....lots of callouses and mud filled finger nails. Smiles. Good health. Muddy sweat smeared foreheads. Hose drinks and tears. That big ol silly raven turd on the one flower you waited all damn season to get a peek of or the green nibblings stuck in your teeth that only another garden nibbler would tell you about. Bounty and reward. Abundance. Giggling kids and the neighbors' recommendations and stories and those dandelion warnings. Questions. Once you get someone in the garden, they see the miracles. And they don't wanna leave.
I like to build gardens and memories and give them away....
I like to take a piece of dry, un-loved, dusty cracked dirt and breath my life right into it, water it with my sweat, tears and spilled cups. And feed it silly plant jokes and childlike laughter. Well, and probably some animal poo or two...and some comfrey tea. I like to introduce myself to the land, give to it and let the land introduce herself to me. She gives me a garden to love and to learn from, and then we pass it on.
Sometimes I get a little sad. I'll sit and recall past gardens and green-spots and lush flowery nooks and just long to revisit them, like I long for a long lost childhood pet or old friend. I know some grew into other earth caring hands and some were neglected and some probably turned into happy wild thriving green motherwort, tansy and lemon balm beasts by their own will. Nature does have its way of doing what she wants. I suppose some have even been destroyed, but I created them, it's my keepsake and that's good enough for me.
My life is my dream, my dream is my work, my work is my gardens, and my gardens are my legacy. Each day I wake and want to share my world. I want to excite children and really big children about the soil and the worms and the veins or hairs on a leaf and the free and wild foods and medicines. I want to make a whole new playground for the moths and the snails. I want to see my hair up there in the birds' nests. It might be a tiny domestic garden or the earths wild gigantic garden but I want to share all about it, teach about, squeeze hug it and pass this love on. I want to grow more intriguing garden eyes. I want to share the miracles.
I've been enjoying watching my life unfurl and spiral on. Seeing where it goes and what I accomplish and learn. The lives I'm lucky to wander into and the children who constantly remind me to live fearlessly and in awe. And to leave a trail....a trail of bird seed that always spouts up free gorgeous orange safflowers and yellowy sunflowers and pink and purple thistles galore. And that one must leave a trail of muddy toe prints through the kitchen in order to get to mommas icy mint tea. Because all toe tracks are cute. And to chomp those juicy tomatoes and peaches and munch the pineapple weed and blow those dandy seeds to the sky. And that all gardens need a watering hole. And a mud hole. And I will remind them to leave a trail....a trail of amazingness. And a garden.
And I've come to find that with each new home and each new place, that I rarely walk into a garden made by someone else. No I don't. So I build one because that's what I do. The bare lonely soil likes to seek me out. It pulls me to it. It tells me what to do and what to grow and what to just watch grow. It teaches me balance. It tells me that the lamb's quarters and purslane are just as beautiful and remarkable as the calendula and roses and that they taste even better..... and that the yarrow fixes dang near everything. And that cayenne will stop bleeding in two seconds and make your homegrown yummy pinto beans better. And by golly, everything likes to be tossed into soup! And that trees are perfect shoulders for hammocks and give their free shade and food and medicine. And the malva....it taught me to never neglect. Everyone should love the malva. She's gonna grow whether you like her or not anyway. I like to be a gentle pushing reminder of these things and I will continue down my mossy green path and toss little food and medicine gardens here and there until I can't anymore.
So I do, I'm a vagabond gardener and I guess I'm ok with that. I leave a bit of my heart in the land where ever I roam...it's my gift.
And here I am. Starting over again. Working the land, working on my next garden, my next legacy. Tickling it and letting it tickle me....one I know I soon will leave. But the neighborhood kids play in it. The birds and the bees and the squirrels sing in it. The mailman passes it each day with a smile. It's got my trusty yellow sprinkler and my piggy watering can and my foot prints embedded in it. And it's small and it's wild and it's frugal... but it gives. Just like me.