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My 2 Cents, Religion/Spiritualit and Gardening


I posted a question to this group back in July on "spirituality" and
gardening and got a host of wonderful responses without rancor.  No one
seemed particularly upset about my request and I got a cornucopia of
responses all the way from Druid insights to quotes from the Christian
Bible.  I used it all in my lecture.

I think the difference here is that this discussion has gotten tagged as
"religious" where as the earlier one was "spiritual".  Most folks don't
have a problem with another getting "spiritual" but run like hell if
they think someone's gonna go "religious" on 'em.  I think the original
poster has gotten more than her share of flak.  I read the post and
didn't detect a single line of proselytizing, with a "born-again"
Christian mother I am rabidly sensitive to such goings on.

For most of us, and I am considering us on this list to be "thinking
gardeners", I think "spirituality" and the woof and warp of gardening
cannot be seperated and I doubt if any detractor of the original post
would disagree with my sweeping generalization.  Beyond mere fodder for
the body, a garden is food for the soul, an oasis where many of us
retreat when our relationships with our fellow humans stretch us and try
us beyond our endurance.  How I have weeded furiously and spaded
viciously at my ex-wife!  How much sadness and angst has that old
Oklahoma hybrid tea had to bear!  And do I not know that I am not the
only Power operative in my world when I see the seedlings of the coming
crop break the soil with their optimistic and promising cotyledons?
Maybe I pray with my hoe or maybe it is that I am chanting in my spading
cadence; I know that if I am at peace, I do meditate in my garden
routine.  I garden not for food alone, but for the myriad of benefits
that truly are the realm of the "soul".

Diversity is exactly what we want.  Community gardens are by definition
a little messy this way.  I have gardened next to people who grow okra.
Now that is diversity!  I would prefer their spiritual ideas to flow
freely through my land but lets keep that damn okra confined!  Some of
us plant by the moon; others scoff.  Some of us pray when we plant;
others prefer bat guano.  Some of us sing to our plants; others mulch.
Some of us do all the above.  Some of us none.  Some of us like
eggplant.  (Go figure!)  And some of us don't grow garlic.  I believe
our gardens have a place for all of us and if that is true for our
gardens, it must be true for our list - otherwise, we are guilty of
constructing yet another ivory tower disinterested in the very thing we
represent - like the officiousness of a pyschiatry that declares man has
no soul (psyche, the very root word of the science!).

Diversity is the very essence of community gardening.  My neighbor below
grows plants from his native Lebanon and his wife is effusive in
recommeding herbs or vegetables and recipes that start with "you take a
little of this..."; on the East a Hispanic man tends his corn, dare I
say it now?, religiously - never grew anything else until his wife
insisted on some tomatillos and flowers.  On the North a practising
"wiccan" and to the South a young man who takes his alcohal as seriously
as any addict might.  This is but a smattering of those around me.  Some
of them I wouldn't join in a cup of coffee, but they can rent the spot
next to me as long as they follow the rules (and nary a rule about the
beliefs you exercise whilst planting, nor about the ethnicity of your
plantings).

I guess that's more like a quarter's worth.  I have a tendency towards
rambling.

David King
Community Gardener
middle-aged white guy
Neo-Christian with
A Good dose of Eastern religion thrown in
A lot of Emerson/HDT/Whitman among others
Author
Consulting Horticulturist
Botany Instructor
Tender of a messy garden
Hater of okra and eggplant


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