One of us lives on the east coast. One of us lives on the west.

One of us lives in a rural community. One of us lives in a city.

Both of us wander. Both of us witness. Both of us write.

This is a record of what we find.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

The Landscape of Root

We just planted our first vegetable garden…ever.

I don’t count my mother’s gardens, which I did, in fact, help weed when I wanted desperately to earn money to buy a plush banana. (Yes. I really did fall in love with a stuffed banana complete with eyes and a mouth and a peel that zipped around it. And I bought it. And had it for a long time.) I don’t count the garden Derek and I tried to plant when we moved into our first rental house in Vermont, which came with an ENORMOUS vegetable garden that we blindly, arrogantly and idiotically thought we could plant and grow. We were wrong.

So this little garden is the first. And I love it. We re-used a bunch of rocks that were around various other old pre-us gardens on the property and made six lovely raised beds. We filled them with compost, strung our peace flags, chimes and stained glass art, and then—oh then—we got on our hands and knees and dug holes, planted seeds, transplanted tiny starters, and watered them all again and again. (It was so bloody hot last week!)

There is absolutely nothing spectacular about what we did. Nothing. We planted a little vegetable garden, like a million other people do—just on my block alone, never mind all across Vermont, this country and the world.

(I am reminded of the incredible picture book A Place to Grow by Soyung Pak, which is a story about a father and daughter working together in their garden. As they work, he explains what a seed needs in order to flourish and then parallels that description with the reasons their family immigrated to a new country. Their plants look for sunlight as they looked for hope. Their plants look for good dirt as they looked for peace. They all—plants and family—needed a place to grow. Brilliant book. Read it if you can.)

Working and sweating alongside all three of my children as they lugged heavy rocks was one of the best times we have recently had. Feeling the dirt under my knees and fingernails as I patted compost over seeds and around plants was a glorious sensation. Standing with Derek in our kitchen and pointing at the tiny bean shoots beginning to poke out of the ground was better than any date we could go on. (Disclaimer: we can’t afford the time or money to go out on dates right now so, hey, we are into cheap thrills!) So maybe it was spectacular. Yes. Yes yes yes.

This school year was a long, exhausting one and we are all elated that summer is finally here. We are appreciating the longer days and the lovely light and the slight letting-go of the reins on our time. And I am intuitively and deeply feeling a need to be outside in the dirt. Not only have we planted our first veggie garden, but also we are about to get 3 little egg-laying chicks, and I cut down invasive vines that have been choking three trees in our backyard. Derek thinks I am nesting. My friend Lisa thinks I am tapping into my root chakra.

I think they are probably both right. I do feel connected to the ground right now. I feel like the dirt is home. I feel firmly rooted in the here and now. (Mostly anyway!) When the root chakra is balanced you are supposed to be able to manifest an abundance of everything you need to survive. I hope (believe?) this is true for me right now. This is exactly the time for me to create this.

I wrote on Facebook recently that I was asking the world to give me wings. That I was at the absolute edge. No safety net, no contingency plan, no going back. This is still true. But now I wonder if I was asking for the wrong gift. Now I wonder if I should have been asking for bare feet and the time to feel the earth between my toes.

Not wings, but feet.
Not sky, but earth.

And I wonder if the world gave me just what I needed.

With gratitude,


  1. So beautiful, Tam. It's funny how these gifts sometimes find us when we're looking in the wrong direction. It's been a real garden summer for me as well. I get so much happiness out of helping things grow.

  2. Chicks? Thats awesome! Next up, goats!

  3. You asked for the correct gift from the world. It just gave it to you in a different form. And you were able to make the right meaning from it.

    Yes, great date. ALL of it.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Tam. Loved the pics, too. I have prayer flags up by my garden as well.