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Gardening is good for the soul.

By: Jerry Vipond, Community Member

I love Spring! It’s a time of renewal when we emerge from winter’s deep slumber. The days grow longer, the sun becomes warmer, and everywhere we look there are signs of new life. I begin to feel a familiar pull in my soul to want to be outside in my garden; to reestablish that connection with the land and life.

At first it’s a lot of work – there’s weeding and fertilizing and tilling to be done. The land, like me, is out of shape after being fallow for so long. But as I give myself over to it it becomes a labor of love – totally therapeutic. Sure my muscles are sore and my back aches a little, but as I breathe in the fresh air I feel a sense of release, as if with every exhale I shed more anxiety and stress.

My garden and I are partners in an endeavor to help both the land and my spirit start a new cycle of growth. But what I love the most is seeing all the wee plants. There’s something almost magical about planting a seed or a sapling and watching it grow. The nursery has row after row of flowers and vegetables and fruit trees and shrubs. I wander through them slowly, happily thinking what shall we try this year – hot peppers or sweet? Cabbage or broccoli? Do I have room for corn? How about some lettuce on the deck? A special joy fills my mind as I envision the endless possibilities.

My garden also represents another kind of connection for me – it makes me feel close to my family. My parents and grandparents have left this world behind, but while they were here they also loved to garden. And every time I pull a weed or plant a cabbage or harvest some peas, I think of them. I didn’t understand most of what they tried to teach me when I was young; it just seemed like a lot of hot, dirty sweaty work. I didn’t learn to appreciate it and love it until much later in my life. I’ve learned that most of life is like that, it can be hard, stressful; But every time my life is turned upside down, much like the tilling of a garden, I can remember that beautiful growth comes next.

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