Living in a small town, there’s often a lot of opinions about what the town *should* have or what a person feels deprived of. I have attempted to have a practice of seeing the bright side of our region instead, which is honestly very challenging to keep up with when everyone around you loves to complain. For myself, I also see this attitude rear it’s head mostly when I’m thinking as a consumer instead of a producer. Yes, it would be nice to have easy access to everything… delivered to my door… in 15 minutes… and that’s what many of us are expecting these days, but it’s not as rewarding, in my opinion, as learning to see the abundance of what’s around us and how we can take part in it.
I only started gardening a few years ago, before that, I assumed I did not have a green thumb. All of my indoor plants died – even my poor bamboo I bought from IKEA. Since I started gardening, I’ve learned more about the cyclical nature of.. nature… and that so many things require time and patience. Each year, the garden improves because our soil improves and our knowledge expands. We put in the hard work and learn more about when and where to plant certain things for success.
Much of the complaints I hear now are people wanting quick fixes and easy answers. They want someone else to do the work, take the risk, bear the losses. But if we want real value and growth we need to put in the work and believe in the possibility of abundance coming our way eventually. It takes a lot of time and commitment. Something I continue to learn and fail at over and over again.
Last summer, my fourth year since starting our garden, I finally felt real abundance. The shelves in my kitchen were lined with tomatoes, we had so many raspberries my kids actually grew tired of eating them, I didn’t prepare enough for the time I needed to preserve and store all of this food… which is my hope to improve on this year. There is nothing that makes me feel more rich than being able to eat a tomato I grew in the garden.
And it’s not only our own gardens, but our region has so much abundance beyond the grocery store. It’s amazing to participate in the cycles of nature and learn about the seasonality of food and actually go and pick cherries, apples, or blackberries. Not only do you learn about how to appreciate those foods when they are picked ripe and in season, but you see that they are a special treat because they are not here forever.
And gardening has also helped me to become more resilient. My first year, we started our garden with one hole where we plopped down some Raspberry Shortcake canes. The deer ate them. The next year we dug out further, adding some space to grow veggies and added a fence. The raspberries came back stronger and larger. We forgot to close the fence entrance and the deer ate the raspberries again. And the slugs ate my lettuce. I cried multiple times over the deer eating the raspberry leaves and stems because that means no raspberries for that year. Still, I kept going, I found more solutions, I expanded anyway. The deer still get to some of my plants at times, but they no longer make me cry. Ha. I’ve only grown more committed to finding a way to keep them from ruining my plans. (completed fence coming soon)
So, what gives you a sense of real abundance? For me, it’s harvesting a tremendous amount of food, so much that I’m not sure we can eat it all. For you it might be having a strong community of friends or a skill to make or build or create. I’d love to hear about it in the comments below!