Wednesday Vignette – cultivating love

This past Sunday morning, after watching (as much as I could stomach) the morning news crews scrambling over bits and pieces of information pertaining to the then rather fresh Orlando massacre, I went outside, and worked my ass off in the garden. I didn’t really go inside again until it got dark. Working in the garden does wonders for my soul, and my mental well being. I know it is always dangerous to make sweeping statements, but – against better judgement – I’m going to ignore that truth – once again.

There has been so much death lately – so much tragic, unnecessary death. With it comes the tremendous and often unimaginable suffering affecting all involved in the various tragedies around the world. I’m totally projecting my own feelings and opinions here, but I really feel we need a green revolution. I’m not talking “green” as in environmentally conscious (although we desperately need that kind of green revolution too). I’m talking about the restorative powers of being able to grow things. Gardening is an empowering, confidence-building, and life-enforcing activity. I’m usually a lazy gardener, who buys plants already growing in nursery pots. But lately, I have started experimenting with growing things from seed, and propagating from cuttings, layering, and division. I have to tell you, that when the seeds I sowed first sent up tiny little leaves, I felt like I had god-like powers. I was as proud as I can be of my children. Like an anxious mother bird, I checked their progress daily, misted, watered, and worried about the few seeds that were behind in their development. When the ones I had thought were duds finally sprouted, I was elated!

Seeing my own kids go through school with practically none of the stuff that I enjoyed (you know, arts, music, wood & metal shop, home ec, sewing – the kind of stuff that used to be part of a “well-rounded education”) has made me realize that kids nowadays are missing out – in a big way. As avid DIYers, and part of the creative set, my husband and I are privileged in that we can – at least to a point – supplement this gaping hole in our kids’ practical life development. But, not everyone can. Gardening as a craft and an art form is different from all the other arts in that it deals directly with life and death.  It teaches patience, wonder, critical observation and analytical skills, and – in terms of materials needed – it is the great equalizer. Anyone can pick ripe seeds and grab a handfull of dirt, to sow them in – especially if someone teaches them how. But, my point for this time of aching, bleeding wounds, is that – more than most other activities – gardening is an affordable, healing activity that builds a mindset of awe, wonderment, keen curiosity, patience, acceptance,  AND (this one is important) a respect for life – however it manifests itself.

The heinous act in Orlando showed an absolute lack of respect for life. It also targeted a group of people that have suffered far more than their share of judgement and brutality – all based in senseless fear and dogma. Seeing the videos of people dancing happily before the shooting, was heartbreaking, and still haunt me. Forgive my naiveté, but I have a vague sense that a mandatory introduction of our young to the miraculous powers of growing things, would build enough of a future awe for the possibility encased in a small seed, and nurture a wide-eyed, open-minded, more tolerant world view. (As opposed to the narrow, dogmatic, fear-based tyranny that more and more people promote.) With time, they would also learn that making different things thrive takes different measures – which builds patience, resilience, observation skills and tolerance. Just like growth takes time, this obviously wouldn’t happen overnight. With the world spinning out of control, throwing out random lashes of antagonistic views all around, I think we could make great gains if we reeled in our extracurriculars, and instead focused on teaching our kids and grandchildren how to plant a seed, water, wait, and observe life unfold. Heck, by all means, spread the gardener gospel to friends and colleagues too – the bigger the ripple, the better! As all of us gardeners know, it is not a process free of disappointment, but the rewards along the way are many and frequent, and the learning curve is continuing. There is a certain humbling comfort in knowing that one can never know it all. And, regardless of age, there is an amazing pleasure and pride in being able to create and sustain life. Am I too optimistic? Maybe, but I honestly feel that gardening can enhance and maybe even save lives. I know it is mine. What do you think – am I crazy?

The entrance to the place wherein I pour my own creative spirit and sweat equity. Coming here always makes me feel better. The Art of Gardening is a lost art. It used to be passed down through the generations, but with the emergence of a consumerist society, it fell by the wayside. I think it's time for the pendulum to swing back again. If we raised gardeners, we would raise the quality and wonder of life for so many, at the expense of hatred, antagonism, fear, and dogma. When your soul is absorbed in beauty, it radiates. C'mon fellow gardeners, let's pass the torch...

The place wherein I pour my own creative spirit and sweat equity. Coming here always makes me feel better. The Art of Gardening is a lost art. It used to be passed down through the generations, but with the emergence of a consumerist society, it fell by the wayside. I think it’s time for the pendulum to swing back again. If we raised gardeners, we would raise a soulful quality and wonderment of life for many – at the expense of hatred, antagonism, fear, and dogma. When our souls are absorbing beauty, they radiate. C’mon fellow gardeners, we have work to do – let’s pass the torch…




About annamadeit

I was born and raised in Sweden, By now, I have lived almost as long in the United States. The path I’ve taken has been long and varied, and has given me a philosophical approach to life. I may joke that I’m a sybarite, but the truth is, I find joy and luxury in life’s simple things as well. My outlook on life has roots in a culture rich in history and tradition, and I care a great deal about environmental stewardship. Aesthetically, while drawn to the visually clean, functional practicality and sustainable solutions that are the hallmarks of modern Scandinavia, I also have a deep appreciation for the raw, the weathered, and the worn - materials that tell a story. To me, contrast, counterpoint, and diversity are what makes life interesting and engaging. Color has always informed everything I do. I’m a functional tetrachromat, and a hopeless plantoholic. I was originally trained as an architect working mostly on interiors, but soon ventured outside - into garden design. It’s that contrast thing again… An interior adrift from its exterior, is like a yin without a yang. My firm conviction that everything is connected gets me in trouble time and time again. The world is a big place, and full of marvelous distractions, and offers plentiful opportunities for inquiry and exploration. I started writing to quell my constant queries, explore my discoveries, and nurture my curiosity. The Creative Flux was started in 2010, and became a catch-all for all kinds of intersecting interests. The start of Flutter & Hum at the end of 2013 marks my descent into plant nerd revelry. I occasionally contribute to other blogs, but those two are my main ones. For sure, topics are all over the map, but then again - so am I! Welcome to my blogs!
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17 Responses to Wednesday Vignette – cultivating love

  1. bergstromskan says:

    Thank you Anna, your capacity to connect with immense pain and still see the light and hope. Then presenting a realistic, longterm plan to turn the path around. You are taking the first step. Let us follow. All Love,

    • annamadeit says:

      Yeah, I truly believe that gardening could soften the hard edges of the world we’ve built – in more ways than one. Let’s start with the young ones…

  2. Mark and Gaz says:

    Not crazy at all. Gardening is so therapeutic in more ways than one…

    • annamadeit says:

      Right? I know I feel better as soon I set foot out there. Even if I’m just admiring how the light falls, if fills me with joy. I want the world to share that feeling…

  3. Not crazy. Very, very sane. Perhaps what is really needed is to see the elements wreak havoc in the garden, then pick up and start again. The feelings that would engender may be salutory

    • annamadeit says:

      Agreed. It truly is a labor of love, and so very therapeutic – for both body and soul. I hope the survivors, friends, family – all those people ravaged by pain and trauma caused by so much unjustified hatred – have access to the restorative powers of a beautiful garden.

  4. Beautiful. Thank you Anna.

  5. You are not crazy! And I am so glad that there are people like you raising our next generation of humans. My WV is over on the plant lust blog today:

  6. I don’t think you’re crazy – if nothing else, gardening teaches respect for real living things which, in a world that increasingly revolves around one-dimensional social media applications, is sorely lacking. There are other things that need doing too, like reasonable controls on gun control, but I won’t drop that rant into this forum. Thanks for waving a beacon of light in our increasingly troubled world.

    • annamadeit says:

      I’m totally with you on gun control. And funding for mental health, too. Holy crap – with so many societal ills – where do we even begin to clean up our mess?

  7. You are not crazy. How many times have I said ‘If only everyone were a gardener’ ..if only. Nothing is simple;it never was even though we try to impose simplicity on the past, thinking all would be well if we were back in the ‘good old days’. I have been involved in the gay community from youth;my best friend growing up (in the late 50’s early 60’s) was George, who died of aids a couple months before his 40th birthday. He would be thrilled to see how far his rights have progressed, probably unimaginable to him back in the 70’s and 80’s. By the way,George and I grew up in LA, but he came out in Portland.

    • annamadeit says:

      I agree – other than the air being cleaner and average temperatures lower, I don’t really think it was better in the old days. Certainly not for the LGBT community. But isn’t it interesting to note that here is someone with radical islamic allegiances (one highly chastised group) blowing another targeted group to smithereens – based on only one of many interpretations of a religious text. You’d think that their shared status of being exposed to mainstream fear mongering and bias would make them supportive of one another, but hell no! That would be far too simple… sigh! Sorry about your friend George, Kathy… I too think he would be proud and amazed at the last few years of progress!

  8. Evan says:

    You have such a big heart, Anna, and you are definitely not crazy. Your “green revolution” comment did, however, make me think of “The Family Tree” by Sheri S. Tepper. Mother Nature takes back the planet, turning cities into forests. Now I want to reread it. My WV post is shoehorned in with my bloom day post:

    • annamadeit says:

      Where is Mother Earth when we need her? I might have to read that book – it sounds like something I would enjoy. The other week when it was so blistering hot, I was on a street with very few trees, and I suddenly realized that my own version of hell would be a treeless planet. I felt so totally exposed and vulnerable – not to mention terribly uncomfortable under the merciless death-rays.

  9. Alison says:

    My Bloom Day and Wednesday Vignette Posts were one and the same this week. You can find it here:

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