Monday, July 11, 2016

Garden Planting 2016

Growing up, we relied a lot on being able to produce food from our garden. Sometimes my dad would be working two or three small plots for corn, beans, squash, tomatoes, onions, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and peppers. As the harvest would arrive, we would enjoy as much of it as we could, give away to neighbors and relatives, and can whatever remained. I can remember my sister and I going out to the garden after school in the spring and picking green onions and dipping them in salt as a snack. I don't think I fully appreciated back then just how unique our experience was, and how much my parents were covertly instilling in me an appreciation for the magic of where our food comes from.

Since 2007, I've had a small garden almost every year in Morgantown. Before that, as an adult away from home I would spend time planting on my tribes land with a few other folks, but there is something far more intimate about having your garden so close to home. My dad has had a garden for as long as I can remember, and even at 75, he and his brothers still plant crops together and share the produce. Our Shawnee ancestors considered the time just before planting the start of the new year and a time to embrace forgiveness and reconciliation. Maybe the work of preparing the soil for planting and looking onward to weeding and caring for crops was a reminder of just how much we need one another, and just how important our relationships are.

This year, I planted the Shawnee traditional three sisters (corn, beans, and squash) along with some tomatoes (cherry and better boys), collards, brussels sprouts, zucchini, bell peppers, and some sunflowers just for fun. I'm looking forward to sharing and feeding friends and family with some of the produce from this little truck patch. There's something especially delicious about picking a tomato, a pepper, or an ear of corn right off the plant and eating it right then and there, that people who only get their food from a grocery store really miss out on. 

Nowadays, it seems like it is a little more trendy to have a small garden, but I applaud anyone who, for whatever reason, is willing to get out and work with the soil. I believe the act of preparing and planting a garden does so much for the household or individual that attempts it. It is a profound reminder that, as much as technology is moving forward, the Creator of the universe has orchestrated it such that our food comes from the earth, and from our relationship with it. Farming or having a garden of whatever size reminds us of our role of stewardship and care, if not for the whole earth, at least for this small area near our homes. It also reminds us that we are dependent upon the rain, the sun, and good healthy soil to ensure that our plants grow, and that we have food to eat. Maintaining a garden also roots us to a deeper experience of place, and in a world that is always on the go, being rooted is a gift. 

As the summer moves forward, I look forward to watching the magic happen and the garden transform from soil, seeds, and small plants to a productive plot of magical gifts from the land. And as I think about the arrival of our child this fall with the harvest, I am hopeful to continue the tradition of teaching another generation of Shawnee about our relationship with the land and how God blesses us with food to eat. It warms my heart to think that every year, as our child celebrates another birthday, we will also be celebrating the late harvest here in these West Virginia hills. May we continue with each generation to to encourage good relationship with the land, the air, and the water. 

1 comment:

Unknown said...

LOVED reading this , billy

love and prayers,