Time in the Garden: I Get Knocked Down...But I Get Up Again!

| 5/27/2010 10:59:04 AM

A photo of Drew OdomI have been staring at this empty block for almost a half hour now. My only company the sound of the overhead fan in my 5th-wheel office. I don't like to write depressing things. I don't like to add too much of the world's reality into my own life or writing. But today I can't seem to help it.

I turn to food for comfort. These past two months I have gained probably 10-12 pounds. What could I possibly be stressed about? Beyond the transition of a new job, a growing homestead, Pan and I trying to start a family, and the influx of media I am forced to swallow each day, I guess nothing. But each day I wake up, down a cup of coffee and a little pick-me-up (usually fruit or a bowl of mueslix) and flip on the news. I am not specific in which channel or news team. Delivery is delivery no matter how much Splenda you might put in it. BP. Wall Street. A failing presidential office. War. Sex Trafficking. Terrorism. Obesity. Obsession. It is all a bit much over what should be "the best part of waking up." After about 15 minutes though I cut it off and join the sun as it rises into the sky.

My first stop is at the herb boxes. I love to smell them and wonder just what recipe they will end up "completing" or how Pan will dry them for tea or shaker spices. I then ramble on towards the corn. We try to water it every other day, and when I say water I mean for a few hours. Because of the position of the field it gets pummeled with afternoon sun and needs every drop of liquid it can get. It is usually at this point that I can't help but checking on the chickens. I can hear them so they are pretty hard to ignore. And now with the new chicks ... well, who doesn't want to see new chicks fumble around and play what looks like a game of poultry rugby?

And then it is on to the main garden. I can't step into it without being washed over by its miracle. At the risk of sounding emotionally drippy, this garden is so much more to me than probably to most. It represents new life in its most raw form. It is my church. It is where I was baptized a second time, changing from the consumptive person I thought I deserved to be in life to the humbled man I am now. I typically reach down and poke my finger in the dirt. Most mornings it is moist with dew; a reminder that each day is a new one and everyone deserves to be cleaned and refreshed. And then? Well, then I park it. I sit on a bench made of old granite curbing that we recycled from a downtown renovation project. I stare at the plants thinking about how Pan and I have poured hours into it hoping for a harvest that will last us well into fall and early winter. I think about how we tithe the first of the harvest and give thanks to God for what he has blessed us with on Odom's Idle Acres. I think about how a tiny seed turns into a huge plant that bears food. Think about that for a moment.

What starts out as a seed ... well, perhaps Robert Schuller (yes, the televangelist ... so sue me) said it best, "Anyone can count the seeds in an apple, but only God can count the number of apples in a seed." How amazing is that. And as I stare at that garden – what it once was, what it is now, and what it will be in a month – I find my hunger being satiated. No, I am not talking about a twinkie I hid amongst the okra but rather a satisfying bite of relief; freedom from the very stresses that one hour ago gripped me tight like a boa constrictor on his prey. And it is at that moment the world makes sense again. It began in a garden. A garden shall sustain us. And if I have my druthers, it will all end in a garden.

Fox and his Friends can say what they want, but when the world gets extra hairy and Uncle Sam reaches out his hand one last time, I am headed to the garden. And there I will find new life, new hope, and a new understanding of what we are here for.

6/1/2010 11:28:59 AM

Thanks you so much Shannon for your kind words and your advice. I am on a news fast right now. I didn't realize it until just now when I thought, "wait, I haven't watched the news since Thursday." I am still alive and the world is still turning. Things must be at least okay. hahahahaha Cheers!

S.M.R. Saia
6/1/2010 11:25:17 AM

You garden is beautiful. You have much to be proud of and thankful for. I know exactly what you mean about going to the garden and working in the garden doing much to alleviate depression and stress. It helps me too. It replaces fears and anxieties and feelings of loss and lack (which are usually largely imaginary anyway) with feelings of grace and promise and plenty. Personally, I don't watch a whole lot of news. I find that if anything really major happens I hear about it anyway. I read Andrew Weil's 8 Weeks to Optimum Health about 10 or 12 years ago, and he recommended a "news fast" as part of his health regimen. It's amazing how much keeping the bad news out can do for one's outlook on life. I'm not advocating total ignorance to the point of social irresponsibility, but skipping a day every now and then doesn't hurt anything, and might just help keep your spirits up. Take care.

5/29/2010 9:25:46 AM

@Dave - Here's to that harvest indeed! Be blessed, my friend.

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