Why try to explain miracles to your kids when you can just have them plant a garden. - Robert Brault
Some months ago Master Lin and I spoke of the joy, the energy, and the healing nature
of gardening. To launch this blog I share some fond memories...
Some of my fondest and earliest memories are those of summer when I played and worked in the garden across the street from my grandmother’s house.
Mr. Santoro was a dear friend of my grandparents for some fifty years. My grandfather had healed him long before I had met him and so, with a grateful heart, he lived each day with an eternal smile. He always wore a large brimmed sunhat that covered is silver hair and just barely visible, below the frayed brim of his hat, were his sparkling eyes the color of Virginia Blue Bells. He knew, without a doubt, that the energy of life was in his hands. Anything he held in them would nurture, transform and grow. He didn’t know qigong, but he lived qigong.
He blessed all the earth in his garden. Nothing went to waste, everything to him was sacred and he often spoke of the rhythm of the seasons, the energy of life in every seed. He kissed each seed before he sprouted it as if it were one of his many children. Everything he harvested that sustained his family and friends, was a child of his.
His entire back yard was a majestic garden with row upon row of vegetables and flowers. There were trellises constructed from his pruned trees that supported the beanstalks and peas, and the tomato plants taller than I was. Rows of sweet and Indian corn, giant cabbages and kohlrabi, fresh potatoes, jewel and white, lettuces of every variety, every herb you can think of and pumpkins and gourds by fall burst from the earth behind his house. It was a great mystery revealed, from spring to fall and I loved it.
By the time I was seven, my grandmother was in her nineties. She lived on a simple suburban street in a two story white house built in the late 1920’s. There was a small grape arbor on the back of the house. In the front, there was a big covered porch engulfed by thousands of sweet pink trailing roses by August. My grandfather had planted those roses more than three quarters of a century before I was born. I still remember the perfume that filled the summer evening air while rocking on the porch waiting for fireflies to come out. All the kids in the neighborhood would come over and we’d watch the fireflies buzz and glow their light and chase them until it was time for bed.
My cousin Johnny lived next door, was older and taller than I was, and held me steady while I straddled the windowsill at the top of the stairs that opened to the two-story fig tree growing alongside my grandmother’s house. A large basket, lined with a hand-embroidered tea towel held the harvest. There’s nothing quite like opening a window and picking fresh fruit for the day’s meal!
In those days, most everyone had some fruit trees and a garden big enough to feed the family and friends. Very little food came from a can and most everything was made from scratch and if you were missing an herb, you called a neighbor down the street and in minutes they’d be at your door with a fragrant green bouquet in hand. Rarely did you hear about people being sick. They ate what they grew, had root cellars, and held canning parties that lasted all day. Many were in their silver years and they were healthy and strong and ate the bounty they grew and shared with others. It was truly a marvelous community of gardeners from the old country who knew that nurturing the seeds of Mother Earth sustains life, health, and feeds the human spirit. As Lao Tzu said, “To see things in the seed that is genius.
Over the coming months, we hope anyone who loves the garden, will come and share his or her thoughts about the energy of the garden. This is an open blog and all are welcome.
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