On Saturday I did something I rarely do, I took the day off. Normally I arise at my usual 5 A. M. and head off to teach yoga at 8:30. Unless I’m on vacation or busy with something school related, I seldom take a day off. I needed a day at home. It coincided with ASU’s last home game and my commitment to caring for my youngest three grandchildren while the rest of the family cheered on the Sun Devils. The kids arrived mid-morning and we all migrated to the back yard to check out the garden. I could see right away the basil that was going to seed was in major need of a trim. Rows of carrots, kale, beets and cilantro required thinning to allow room for growth. I also checked out my DIY aphid traps, which were mildly successful with flies, mosquitoes and, unfortunately, one bee. The air was cool and the sun was warm. It felt wonderful to be at home, unhurried and no place we needed to be till later in the day.
As I tended garden rows, each of the three children was absorbed in a different part of the garden. The oldest occupied a corner space that has evolved over time into a dirt kitchen. She set up shelves, organized utensils, made bouquets of basil flowers and chopped up scraps from the compost for an “almost edible” stew. My grandson made dirt muffins, squirted the hose at everything and everyone, created waterways and put the cutters to use in mostly appropriate ways. In one section of the garden where there used to be a tree, we have a large pit from which roots were dug out. Eventually, once the roots are removed, we’ll plant fruit trees there. It’s become our compost area and it was in this space that my youngest granddaughter spent the good part of nearly two hours. She discovered a withering Halloween pumpkin that she promptly excavated seeds from for other projects. She gathered eggshells and carrot tops that were also put to use in more ways than I can remember.
The thing about a day like ours in the garden was how timeless it felt. I was glad I made a day for myself just to be…quietly relaxing in the sun, my hands in the dirt, absorbed in the present moment. At a time of year dedicated to gratitude, I was also grateful on behalf of my grandchildren that they too had a day free of rushing around, a day to drop into their imaginations…and into themselves.