Movable Garden

This morning I returned to the Seed after a week of solitude, resting my voice and, to be honest, a lot of art.  In my days of silence I made collages from garden photos, old stamps, rice paper painted by toddlers at school, and cut letters from old yoga magazines.  I also watched a number of documentaries about food, recycling, living with a lighter impact on the planet and gardening.  It was a retreat I needed for more than just my surgery recovery.  With mixed feelings, I returned to school today and back to my normal life.

Regrets of giving up my solitude soon vanished.  The usual characters who greet me every morning were full of questions such as “What’s that on your neck?”  I love how kids get right to the point.  One of my regular greeters was too shy to say hi but managed an “Arg!” since he was wearing a pirate shirt.  After the parade of greetings, we gathered in the multipurpose room for the Monday meeting.  Following the usual birthday acknowledgments, school business and class news, I was gifted with a “movable garden.”  The idea was inspired by a website I recently shared with the staff about a community garden in Berlin.  The garden, called the Prinzessinnengarten, started as the project of a group interested in picking up garbage and has grown to be a large garden accessible to the public.  Vegetables are grown in plastic crates, milk containers, rice bags, and recycled plastic bags.  The amazing thing about it is that when the weather turns cold, they pack up the whole garden into shopping carts and transport it to a large warehouse/greenhouse for the winter.  I love this idea because it involves a community to move and sustain the garden.

These days I’ve been thinking more and more about the power of gardening and its potential to build community, improve the quality of our health, ensure a brighter future for our children and heal our planet.  One thing for sure, it’s more than the plants.  When I saw the photograph of the German people in their parade of shopping carts, as well as the families bringing in their flowers and plants for my personal movable garden this morning, I was struck by the deep understanding of everyone involved that we are all in this together.  If we are to survive as a species, we have to step up our care for each other and our planet.  We also have to believe that everything we do makes a difference.  Planting a garden, teaching our children how to grow some of their own food, and valuing a quality of life that honors the preciousness of everything we have available on Planet Earth, are ways to begin.