Gardening and Rejuvenation
Report From PIA – January 30
Today I arrived home in the late-afternoon feeling an exhaustion accumulated over the past few days. Yesterday I helped my former neighbors move, last night was kept awake by The Dog’s storm phobias, and this morning hosted GardenLine. Right after the show I raced from the studio to a BEF board meeting, so by the time I got home in the mid-afternoon, I was drained. I contemplated a nap, but I really wished it wasn’t winter so I could go work in the garden.
I thought back to a day last June when I’d been speaking out of state. The combination of the three-hour drive in each direction, along with the exertion necessary to be “on” and satisfy a large group of strangers, had left me worn out. But it was June, and a few dozen plants still waited in their small six-packs, so I remember quickly changing clothing and going out in the garden.
Assuming that I would just tuck a few plants in the ground and then go in and make dinner, I grabbed a my garden gloves. Right. I’d been a gardener for over thirty years at that point …what was I thinking? It was late June, and the weeds were having a field day. Everywhere I looked there were weeds to yank and spreading perennials to edit, and although I was tired and wanted to get a few annuals planted, I started pulling the unwanted plants out of the garden.
Two hours later I was dirty, sweaty, and feeling slightly overwhelmed. There were two huge piles of weeds on the lawn, and only few annuals had been slipped into the soil, but much to my surprise I was no longer exhausted. Grimy and a bit tired, yes, but feeling much more lively than when I started working. I was nowhere near to being finished with the weeding and planting but I felt better.
How I long for that rejuvenating workout now, in late January!
People who exercise by running or going into the gym often say that although they felt drained and worn out at the start of their routine, they feel a combination of physically tired but nevertheless very energized when they finish. I find that working in the garden produces the same result.
Gardening is good exercise, it’s true, but laboring in the landscape is far more than a pleasing endorphin rush. There is something about gardening that feeds the spirit while the body is keeping fit. Working with the land connects us with people throughout the world and over the ages, and creating something wonderful in partnership with nature is deeply satisfying.
I’m trying to remember that as I walk outside and the ground is frozen solid. I see weeds that have spouted in September and grown large in the fall, but when I try to pull them out today, the cold ground holds them firmly. Sigh.
Spring may be a long way off, but I remember the benefits of working in the garden, holding them close as I wait for the change in seasons.