Dear Mrs. Obama,
Congratulations on your new podcast journey. It always helps to have a friend to talk things through, no matter the topic. I too have found my voice in podcasting. The joy it adds to life is amazing. I wish you much success n what could be considered a perennial journey.
I have listened to a few people who have expressed concern about your admission of feeling a little low and perhaps a tad depressed. Join the Club. Many of us feel the same way. Would many people actually admit it in public or to strangers? Probably not. It is sometimes easier to walk past our life weeds and act as if they do not exist.
LIFE – FLOW IN THE GARDEN
Spring brings thoughts of bulbs bursting through the soil, buds swelling on branches, and a fresh perspective after nesting season. Just as things are filling our minds with thoughts of the next, a hard freeze comes along. That is when we worry. Will the buds be damaged? Some wonder if the daffodils still open. Will the hydrangeas survive this last gasp of winter? Most plants will survive as they are strong. Other plants will suffer damage, yet this is a reality of the garden. Life in the garden comes with a lot of faith, a well as hope.
The anticipation of Mother’s day shopping for the unusual annual or specialty plant is a ritual. Adding new annuals and tropical plants to excite the gardener is a familiar practice nationwide. This year in my Zone 6b garden, I was not sure when it was safe to plant. The ground was too cold or too wet. The evening temperatures were a bit colder than normal. Some of us lost plants that typically would have been okay, as they were planted at the proper time…or so we thought. In the midst of unintentional pausing, we needed the joy of the garden. A pandemic threatened to interrupt the flow of the garden.
LIFE AS THE GARDEN PEAKS
Summer has now arrived in our gardens. If we have planted the right plants, it is overflowing with bodacious beauty. However, if we planted the right plant in the wrong place, we are experiencing gaps, plant failures, and disappointment. I am sure that many of us thought we would be able to vacation, enjoy gatherings with friends, and enjoy life as usual. With this new reality, we are experiencing, life as we knew it has certainly changed. In ways that were once unimaginable, our beautiful life garden has major weeds. These weeds are dragging our spirits into the muck and mire. This sobering reality has left many of us dragging our hopes and dreams to the compost bin. However, it is a known fact, Gardeners do not give up on our gardens.
SEASONAL TRANSITIONS IN LIFE
I want to invite you to read a book, American Grown The Story of the White House Kitchen Garden and Gardens Across America, by Michelle Obama. On page 165 there is a sentence. Allow me to share…
“Those first seeds we planted in our garden helped start a conversation that grew into a nationwide movement as people across this country united to address childhood obesity. And together, with determination and creativity, we have begun building the foundation for a healthier generation and a healthier nation.“
What we are going through might not be obesity, but the words apply to what has deposited into our life garden. You helped build the foundation. The seeds that were planted are the young people who showed up for the cause. Your words and positive imagery is the soil of the foundation. Soil enriched and fertilized with love, hope, and faith. It is the existing foundation for the new type of garden. A garden that is quite diverse. Although every garden has a weed or two.
POKEWEED IN OUR LIFE GARDEN
Pokeweed is good at subtly growing amidst other plants in the garden. The garden might look lush and simply gorgeous. All of a sudden, the gardener realizes that it isn’t new growth next to the plant, but pokeweed. Rising from a dropped seed or roots left in the soil. This plant pops up beside almost anything, anywhere…imitating something we planted on purpose.
When gardeners realize that pokeweed leaves are a bit different and the growth a bit out of order, we take action. Do we snap it off at the top, only to allow the root to remain and resurface? Do we chemically treat it and hope we don’t kill other surrounding plants? Or do we dig deeply, aiming to eradicate as much root as possible?
As an avid gardener, I dig deeply – even though disturbing the soil just might bring up more weed seeds. Disrupting the soil to allow all the negative seedlings to expose themselves, reveals what is under the surface. The foundation of my garden should harbor seeds of positivity, beauty, and should provide joy. I can address what lies beneath the soil if I can see it and alleviate aggressive weeds before they grow deeper roots.
Yes…it makes me mad and downright sad to see the Pokeweed pop up here and there. Some days the weeds are overwhelming. Just when I think I have finished weeding my garden, I stand, gazing and admiring the beauty before me. Beside the hydrangea, standing, almost hiding behind a bloom, I see it. If I allow it to stay, drop its poisonous seeds, sink its roots, and become a bigger problem, it will continue to invade my garden. Pokeweed is not welcome in my garden.
Others find it beneficial, even attractive for wildlife. All parts of the Pokeweed plant are toxic. It is a source of food for wildlife, so it does serve a purpose. Perhaps in a meadow, but not in my pleasure garden. My garden consists of plants that bring me joy!
LIFE…EVER EVOLVING – LIKE THE GARDEN
Dear Mrs. Obama, I understand feeling low. It is all a part of life. Just like the garden, we have disappointments and sadness. We cannot allow the pokeweed in our midst to overrun and destroy our life garden. Can we do anything abut the seeds we cannot see? No. We can help uplift the seeds that have grown into strong, vocal plants in or current life landscape.
Sorry this was so long, but I just wanted you to know we are all emotionally at our wits end, but Fall is on our doorstep. I noticed this morning leaves dropping from the trees. Signals of change are in the air, in the garden and in the foundation of our life gardens. We are here to witness this garden of life change, as a new season is beginning.
From one gardener to another, when this world moves too fast, go into the garden. Perhaps go into the garden with friends. The garden is there for us…let’s embrace its imperfections. Let’s enjoy its diversity, fertilize it with self-care, and water it with love. It will need us in the next season. I have a sense, we will be quite busy.
Off to enjoy the garden with friends,
Teri, Cottage In The Courtby