This year has been a year of worry: worry about a mysterious illness that has been depleting my blood levels and sapping my energy, worry about work and money, worry about my kids—they’re fine, but parenting is perplexing—, worry about climate change and politics and the state of the world, and worry about my livelihood and contribution to the planet. Really? I am worrying about all of this? A friend and mentor calls worry “meditating on sh#t.” Maybe I’ve got it all wrong.
But, when I’m in my garden, this goes away. There is something perfect about harvesting strawberries with my daughter. We fill our hands until we can’t pick any more, and then—who are we kidding—eat them all before we even stand up out of our crouch. Things are right in the world when she notices that our peas have started to flower, and when she concedes to planting snow peas, in addition to her favourite snap peas, because our dog, Louis, (our other loyal harvester) prefers them.
All is well in the world when I notice that the blueberry plants are covered in blueberries, the squash have blossoms, the garlics are scaping, the slug-eaten cabbages are bouncing back with vigour after the rain, the soil is buttery soft and black under a layer of mulch from the fall, and there’s an unexpected patch of thyme flowering on a path.
My peonies went wild this year bursting with excitement when I picked them, and then continuing to explode with petals once inside. I can remember my heart feeling full like that when I met my partner.
But isn’t it moments like this? Just noticing or tending to the moment in time when everything is fine. The singularity of this okayness.
Last weekend my partner celebrated a business milestone on the same day that a staff member suffered an enormous, tragic, heart-breaking loss. He couldn’t shake his sadness. “I should be celebrating,” he said, “but this is my worst day in business so far.”
Life is like that.
My garden reminds me that we can either celebrate everything—every miraculous seed that germinates, every volunteer tomato or cucumber, every iridescent and sour rhubarb slice, every bite of peppery arugula, every cherry blossom, every furry mint leaf—this is all we get after all. Or we can celebrate nothing. We can wait until everything is lined up and there’s nothing to worry about, but that moment that will never come.
So, I’ll celebrate knowing it’s all okay just how it is. When I’m worried, all I need to do is return to my garden. It’s so full of life.