Stepping outside into the cool morning air, I place my foot onto the dew-covered grass. The birds who have been enjoying the sunrise with me chirp cheerfully in the trees, singing to all of nature as we rise together to greet the sun. The mists of dawn are lifting and the air is so fresh it greets my lungs with pure revitalization. I breathe in as deeply as I can, filling every organ with the sweet life force current.
I pull my garden gloves snugly onto my hands and walk down the path to the garden, determined this morning to tie up the tumbling tomato vines. My apron pockets are filled with ties, pruning shears, lip balm and a mixture of seeds and dirt that have arrived there by happenstance, shaken loose from packets carried to-and-fro for too many days.
Falling to my knees, I begin my work, worshipping at the altar of nature. Carefully bending the turgid tomato stems, slowly, slowly I bring them into alignment with the bamboo stakes that will support them as they begin to carry their flowers and their fruit. This should have been done, sooner, I suppose, as some of the stems have twisted around in curvy arcs that don't appreciate the rigid straightness of the pole.
Snip, snip, snip; extra branches and suckers fall by the wayside. Too many leaves will take energy away from the flowers and fruit that is to come. It's a shame, I think, to waste them, and so I set the best ones in a pile to propagate new plants. Stick them in a glass of water and they will root within a week. Hopefully somebody will be getting their tomatoes in late this year and will have use of them, if not, off to the compost they will go. At least they got a second chance to live.
That tomato task complete, I remove my gloves and shove them in the apron pocket with the seeds as I visit the flower beds. The tiny alpine strawberries that cover the soil around the flowers a sweet and welcome breakfast. Never, never could you buy a strawberry with the intensity of flavour of these miniscule morsels, the progenitors of today's strawberries.
I marvel at the centuries of careful tending it must have taken our ancestors to arrive at the giant berries we see today. I am grateful for all the work they undertook - to feed their families with summer sweetness. To carefully save the best fruits for their seeds. Evolution takes it's time, but we have learned to help it along by not being greedy - by saving the very best for the next generation.
The lettuce patch bursts with leaves of red and purple and every shade of green. I thin a bundle of plants for today's sandwiches and salad for tonight, making room for those who remain to expand their domain. I push some bark mulch into the crevices, determined this year to outsmart the weeds. They will push in around the edges, I suppose, but this small act should make all the difference between casual plucking and tiresome hours on hands and knees.
Basket on my arm, I see that the chard, too, is a riot of color. This time bright yellow, pink, orange and red accent the deep green of the savoyed leaves. I will never tire of this plant, I think fondly, plucking only the largest outer leaves and leaving the inner ones to grow bigger and brighter in the warming sun. This will do for a smoothie, most definitely. Hmmm... maybe its time to go in for second breakfast... I thank the plants for their sacrifice and hope for them that we have a rainshower this afternoon.
Blue sky overhead, painted with only a few puffy clouds, it's going to be a glorious day. Maybe we'll be able to go to the river later. It was almost too cold last time, but the days are at their longest now. It will be so nice to have a swim in the pure clean current. Last year we had such a good time splashing around at our secluded swimming hole. Yes, today will be a good day for it, if we go early. There will probably be a thunderstorm this afternoon, the air is starting to get hot.
Walking up the steps into the house, I look down into the flowerbeds and am filled with joy at the colours bursting from the vivid green. Purple irises, giant peonies in every shade of pink and white, tulips of yellow splashed with red as well as the pink frilly ones, shy violas in purple and yellow stuffing every nook and cranny, and still some scillas linger, the first flower of spring here, their brilliant tiny blueness peeking out from under the apple tree.
So grateful in this moment for all the years Grandma spent putting in these flowers, and proud to carry on tending to them today. I will have to come out and pull some weeds later today, I think. Maybe in the cool of the evening... if it rains, the ground will be softer.
The morning's walk around the garden complete, only an hour or so has passed, even though it felt like all of eternity while I was there. The peace and joy of nature has filled my heart with gratitude, as I am about to fill my body with the goodness of the garden I have grown.
And this is what I wish for you, as well.