The Greatest Gift of All

Morning dew shimmering expectantly on garden leaves awaiting the sun’s first kiss, rooster crowing as he struts about in the pen, families of swallows catching their breakfast together, hundreds of birds singing in chorus to the new day and everywhere that profound stillness that accompanies the dawn. I think morning is best, before coffee, before breakfast, before reading the paper and hearing the news, all things real, all things good.

Today’s newspaper featured an article discussing whether sewage sludge, currently being used on some farm fields, contaminates the food we eat. The second greatest gift of working your own garden is that you know exactly what you are putting on the table. Food that you grow yourself is obviously your favourite, is safe, healthy and as fresh as five minutes ago when you picked it. Knowing that the food on the table is your own and is a family favourite trumps anything you could buy in the supermarket.

We in North America have lost contact with the food we eat. We have forgotten how to grow and how to eat. That is why we suffer so much obesity and so many food related disorders. The shadow world that rules our lives, constantly barraging us with the horrifying results of its greed, forces us to look past meals to our next obligations, whether they be jobs, meetings or activities. Food, often greasy and salty, is consumed on the fly in the fastest way possible with a minimum of attention, so focused are we on what comes next. The hard and fast rule of this shadow world is that money counts most. Everything can be bought including the earth itself and all beings that live on it.

But that world is no more than a facade, a movie set, so real in appearance, so hollow in reality. In the real world, the world of the seasons, people who enjoy growing their own food also enjoy eating and sharing and talking about one another’s day. They play with colours, textures and flavours when preparing meals. Instead of being a drive through necessity, a meal becomes its own pleasure and a welcome opportunity for a family spend time together. That is the second greatest gift of a garden.

This morning I stand amidst the greatest gift of all. At this moment of rising sun my garden is art and song and scent and refuge from a world that has lost its way. It fills the senses and lightens the heart. Gardening is one of those perfect activities that nurtures the body even as it soothes the troubled soul. Time stops in the garden. For those that want to make this a better world for tomorrow but don’t know what to do, plant a garden today. Don’t wait until next summer, do it now. Never underestimate the earth’s power to affect change, given the chance.

In that shadow world of our creation that values only money, there is no peace nor joy nor hope. These can only be found in the real world whose hope lies in the seasons, whose joy in the song of birds, whose peace in the garden raising its dew washed leaves to the sun’s embrace. See you next time.

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