Of all the garden books I have, this one has become my favorite. More than anything, it is a poetic journey into the soil and into the very heart of how things grow. Most of my other books have lots of pictures, and how-to elements. This one speaks to my soul, and my heart. I routinely finish reading with tears in my eyes, reminded again of the awesome privilege it is to be learning an art that is so old, so rich, and so fulfilling.
In the passage I am reading this morning, she is talking about getting down to bedrock, understanding the ground in which you are planting. I love her imagery and imagination. She is describing what happened in her garden during the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake that shook northern California”from stem to stern.”
“The garden around our house was buckling, undulating up and down, writhing as if a prehistoric dinosaur had woken up underneath the wrinkled mantle of a skin that no longer fit and was trying to shake the fleas of the twentieth century off his scaly hide. I was mesmerized by the buckling, rippling earth. All the different bells around Green Gulch began to sway and ring. The water sloshed out of the ancient swimming pool that we use for a fire reservoir. Our hayloft zendo sighed, shook and shimmied in place. And I lost forever my faith in solid ground.”
I was in that earthquake as well, but inside a city. Inside an office with the copier dancing around the room, hiding under a desk and screaming, was my experience, and then not being able to get to my house for three days.
This experience of watching the earth turn into a prehistoric dinosaur seems utterly more fascinating and beautiful.
We are just at the beginning stages, not even quite yet, still planning our garden for this year. Reading about the earth, and the movement and the magic underground that becomes and grows fills me with excitement for another year of rows and rows of things to eat!
What are you growing this year?