Gardening can teach us so much about life.
As I put the garden to rest for the season, the age-old, idiomatic adage, "bloom where you are planted," sounded in my thoughts. The phrase may be asking us to consider making the best of a current situation or remaining positive in given circumstances. Regardless of the meaning, there is an implication here of blooming and growing and flourishing. For any plant to do this, basic necessities are needed: sunlight, water, and location. It's a well-known fact that even certain plants grow better when they share a space with other specific plant types. This is called companion planting, and the Native Americans knew it well. They grew the Three Sisters, (beans, corn, and squash), together because they contributed to the health and growth of each other.
Metaphorically, we are, in fact, paralleled to the plant kingdom: Our sunlight is happiness, our water is healthy nutrition, our location is our home, and we do best in community with others. Human beings are made for community. We need each other. Ask any new mom, and she will certainly understand how community can be advantageous in raising children. We just weren't made to be solitary creatures. While solitude can clearly offer many mental health benefits from time to time, there's a certain longing to be with others. There is a void that needs filled when absence of relationship or absence of community life is apparent.
It seems there has been a tremendous increase in loneliness over the years. This societal epidemic predates even current pandemic issues. Social media and search engines at the touch of a finger have made us seemingly more connected but more lonesome than we have ever been. Seeing the perfect house staged on Instagram makes us doubt our own environment. Seeing the "perfect parent" on social media, blogs, or influencer pages makes us doubt our own parenting. We may strive for perfection instead of community. We have all these amazing tools and resources, but oftentimes these commodities bring out jealousy, fear, or inadequacy.
I remember stories from my Mama and Nonna about "the good old days." Hearing them talk about community has me passionately longing for similar experiences that my children can grow up with. If this pandemic has taught us anything, it should truly be that we need each other more than ever before. We have such a finite amount of time in this physical world. I don't ever want to regret not seeing or talking to a close friend or neighbor. We aren't ever guaranteed tomorrow.
So, pick up the phone. Go visit a friend. Spend time with your family. Build your community. THESE are the good old days.
I'll be here if you need to borrow a cup of sugar or want to enjoy a cup of coffee. There's always time for each other.
Go tend your soul garden and BLOOM.