Monday, July 13, 2020

Pandemic Gardening and Nature's Eternal Lessons

Marilyn Gilpin

My garden has always been a haven. I can lose myself, or rather lose my cares and worries, when I am surrounded by nature. This escape has become so much more essential during these pandemic times. 

The news is almost all bad. There is the worsening health crisis, mismanaged at all levels, and the cavalier attitude about the virus of many of my fellow citizens. There are police killings, protests, vandalism, climate change, Hong Kong. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed to near despair.

So, I venture into my garden. Far from perfect, it is messy and chaotic, with so many weeds that I have redefined what a weed is. If it is not invasive, or if it flowers, it can usually remain. My little oasis is a stunning, elegant and delightful nook where tranquility reigns; peace prospers. My sunflowers don’t have covid; my hydrangea never heard of coronavirus; climate change hasn’t yet touched my maples and poplars. I find solace in the certainty that Nature knows what she is doing. Acorns grow into oak trees with no help from any human.

I learn patience while tending my garden. If my new clematis doesn’t flower, I am certain that it will next year. A garden’s needs are simple. If my morning glory looks wilted, I water it. If my astilbe looks dead, I examine it carefully for any sign of growth. Growth means life. If it dies, I plant something else. Nature has been growing things for millennia before I arrived. I get to be a caretaker for just a little while, choosing what to plant and where in my small corner of the world, but Nature is ultimately in charge. 

One of my favorite quotes is from the Talmud: “Every blade of grass has its angel that bends over it and whispers GROW, GROW.” It is such a comforting thought. I belong to the universe, and the universe has my back. 

This little pandemic will be a minor blip in the eternity of Nature, unnoticed by birds and rivers, trees and stars.

Marilyn Gilpin has been an avid reader and writer for as long as she can remember. Some of her pieces have been published in The New Sweetwater Reporter, the newsletter for East Nantmeal Township. She is a passionate gardener, theatre lover, and student of piano and has contributed to numerous Women's Writing Circle read arounds. She lives in Glenmoore, Pennsylvania with her husband, Michael, his many guitars and their four cocker spaniels. 


Sherrey Meyer said...

Marilyn, thanks for this beautiful and inspirational post about your garden and gardening. I'm printing it out for my husband because he uses some of your same methods in our yard and garden, and he will enjoy knowing that being a "Master Gardener" isn't a certification by some county agency. It's what's in the heart and the angels looking down and whispering, "Grow! Grow!"

Susan, thank you for hosting Marilyn this morning. Her words were certainly a day brightener.

Marian Beaman said...

As it happens, I return to blogging Wednesday with a gardening theme, Marilyn, and I'm going to link this to my blog,

Thanks, Susan, for hosting Marilyn with good news this week. I agree that nature is a gentle teacher who whispers sweetly, "Grow! Grow!"

Susan G. Weidener said...

Thank you, Sherrey and Marian for stopping by with your reflections about nature and gardening. I find that my somewhat feeble attempts at gardening, which are mainly planting hydrangea and potting petunias and geraniums, keep giving back, especially when I sit on my porch with my morning coffee and take in the beauty of summer blossoms.

Marilyn said...

Hello Marian. It is good to know that you find my reflections on gardening useful. Best of luck with your blog and your gardening.

Marilyn said...

Hi Sherrey, I’m glad that you were inspired by my words. I do think that gardening is a pursuit of the heart, and that each garden reflects the soul of the gardener. There are no bad gardens.