The garden of the spirit
“The ground I tend sustains me in early summer, but the garden of the spirit is the place I go when the wind howls…Raised in the mind’s eye, nurtured by the faithful composting of orange rinds and tea leaves and ideas, it is finally the wintergarden that produces the true flowering, the saving vision.” — Louise Erdrich
Thank you, Louise Erdrich, for pointing out the beauty of our gardens of the spirit. I need the occasional reminder that this unseen garden requires tending, so that its blooms will be there to lift my heart when the wind howls. I was delighted to read that Erdrich uses the same compost materials I do. Sometimes I run low on orange rinds when they are out of season, but I’m never short on tea leaves or ideas. I also rely on the gifts of friends who bring me their coffee grounds, veggie peels and reassuring words to sprinkle over the soil after a hard rain.
If we were to take a quick tour through your garden of the spirit, what might we find there? Do you favor lots of annual color, or does the landscape feature mostly sturdy evergreens and hardy perennials? What are your favorite composting materials? Is yours a formal garden, with statuary and fountains and topiary? Or is it a beautifully overgrown cottage garden with a cute bistro table and chairs for casual chats over a cup or two? Maybe you are a practical type whose garden puts wholesome fruits and vegetables on the table, or maybe your own garden of the spirit is a combination of many types.
The wonderful thing about gardens, whether of the earth or of the spirit, is that no two are exactly alike. But they all require diligent care. If you run short on composting materials or need some help with the weeding, let me know. Cooperation and community are the most productive and fun ways to cultivate thriving gardens of the spirit. Iced tea (or hot coffee) and comfy chairs will be waiting for us on the Verandah when we finish working for the day. Sun hat optional.