Towards the end of the three-day weekend, after hours and hours spent in the garden, we were sitting there, sweating, sharing a beer in the shade, surveying our domain. It was still hot as hell out, but the shade made it OK, as did that great feeling of satisfaction, of time well-spent, of making things more beautiful, all the time more beautiful. We were quiet for a minute, which is normal given that we’d been working on our own, mostly silent for days, except to call out, Hey, did you see this?, or Wow, take a look at that?, like we do. We were both, I know it, feeling so pleased, looking around at our handiwork, and then we started to laugh about what an absurd amount of work it is, how devoted we are to it.
This? How beautiful this is? It’s no accident.
We’ve been at this for years.
And just that morning we’d gone on some fool’s errand, visiting three nurseries, one after the other, in search of some particular plant or two that we had in mind for a particular spot in the garden. Three nurseries, buying something at each, until the back of the car was full of foliage. And then we worked, in the heat, bliss.
It’s funny, because I was a city kid and didn’t know any of this stuff I know now – how to compost, grow food, prune trees and roses, how to preserve what we harvest, let alone keep bees. I grew up on sidewalks and in the street, the only tree I really remember an ancient cherry in the overgrown backyard that we never played in. My mother comes over and wanders around our garden with her mouth open a bit, amazed that I know these things. I always respond.
Well, I learned them.
It’s taken years, but I learned these things and now I just do them and I don’t even really think about them anymore. They’re a part of me.
At some point I moved out of the city, lured by trees and hills and love, and never looked back. I was freed from the pavement, put my hands in the dirt and was so glad. Is there anything more precious than eating what you’ve grown, than wandering around the garden at dusk eating from the plants, perfect raspberries, cherry tomatoes, a mouthful of basil? I love it so much. There’s something so deeply pleasing, on a basic human level, of bringing to the table food that you’ve grown. It feels ancient.
Or handing someone a jar of honey that you’ve harvested, with all that that entails. To produce, to make – feels so good.
It occurs to me that all this making – this very real manifesting, putting seeds in the ground and coaxing them into something edible, something bouquet-able – it’s making you, actually.
The things we’re devoted to, the things we love to do, make our lives, actually, make us what we are, make us better than we started out, richer in so many ways, deeper, more interesting. As we here make the land more productive, as we plant flowers for the sheer glory of their color and the food they offer our bees, we’re making ourselves more productive, too. We revel in our very own glory.
Like the bees, we work, drop by drop gathering the nectar that becomes the honey that becomes our life.
Sometimes I feel like I write the same thing over and over again, with slightly different words. And it’s probably true. I sing the same song every day, refining the sounds, dipping my beak into the rapture of what I see around me, and filling my throat.
It’s a song of devotion.
It’s a song of making.
Make your life.
It’s a song of love.
Do what you love.
What are you making? What is your song? Sing it!