If I had to count only one blessing today, it would be the delight I feel when I walk past a neighborhood school where the children are learning to grow their own vegetables, with a few posies in the mix. I give thanks for every gardener who takes time to teach little ones to dig their hands deep into the soil, feel it cool and moist, sniff and yes, even taste.
There is no greater gift my parents could have given than tending their gardens. We might eat lean the rest of the year, but the summer months brought steaming platters of corn on the cob, plates of of fresh-picked green beans cooked crunchy tender so not to lose the flavor, bowls filled to the brim with crisp cucumbers sliced with onions and steeped in vinegar with dill and plenty of salt and pepper, and all the juicy red tomatoes we could eat. Generous bouquets from my mother's flower gardens filled the house with sweet and pungent scents. Hay fever sufferers beware!
My mother, in her eighties, still manages to plant, hoe and weed her gardens throughout the summer. Where the irrigation lines don't reach, she hand carries buckets of water to treasures she brought from the old home place decades ago.
This time of year, when the ground is resting, waiting for the winter freeze, Mom yearns to plunge her hands once again into the loamy earth--loamy because of the tons of compost she's dug into the hard clay over the years. When I think of Mom, almost always I see her on the ground, one hand propping her up, the other patting the soil round a transplant. "There you go, you little thing," she says to it. "I've done my part. Now it's up to you to grow." And they do. Amazingly fast and luscious.
So on this day, I give gratitude to my mother and father who taught me, by example, to love the earth and to respect its bounty. I give gratitude, too, to the teachers and parents who are showing the children at a neighborhood school how to grow vegetables and flowers and, equally important, to be kind to one another.
What are you thankful for?
We make peace in a million small ways every day.
All text and images, unless otherwise noted, copyright L. Kathryn Grace. All rights reserved.