A Bed of Mint

In case anyone noticed, I skipped my blog writing last week.  I tried all week to finish this piece, but things just kept coming up.  I’ve only missed three or four weekly posts in the nearly two years since I started blogging, so I cut myself some slack.  It’s a practice I’m trying to include more of in my life these days, allowing myself a little break.  The good thing is, what I was writing last week is still relevant.

Several years ago, my friend re-gifted me a pot containing spearmint, chocolate peppermint, and lavender.  For whatever reason, she didn’t think she could take care of it and asked if I’d like it for my garden.  I stuck it in the ground, watered it, and waited to see if it would be hearty enough to survive an Arizona summer.  The lavender died after awhile, but the two mint variations are still going strong.  As a matter of fact, they’ve taken over a whole bed AND the entire space underneath our tree.  It keeps overflowing onto the sidewalk and into the rocks that define the growing area.  Last year the roots became so impacted that I dug out the entire bed and sent the whole pile of roots off to the landfill.  In a matter of months the whole bed was overgrown again.  That’s persistence.

In her book Cultivating Delight, Diane Ackerman writes about plants that “pass abundance and become infestation.”  She mentions peppermint particularly and says that she likes to plant it wherever she knows she’ll be walking.   She likes how the oils release on her skin and shoes as she passes by.  Ackerman further mentions that mint is considered a “cooling herb” in Chinese medicine that “lifts the spirit and clarifies the mind.”  She adds, “It’s hard to think sad thoughts when you’re inhaling mint.”

Last weekend I spent a lot of time walking near my mint bed, close enough to pick up the scent on my legs.   Subconsciously, I guess I was giving myself a boost to get through this season.  It’s a time when the school year comes to an end, cycles reach completion, graduations occur, and we have to say good-bye to friends who have grown dear to our hearts.  It’s a celebratory time, but there’s always an underlying layer of sadness.  During this season of letting go, as we acknowledge our losses, we are fortunate to have subtle minty reminders that life is ever changing and always ready to present something new.

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