It’s the most ‘splendiferous’ (I know it’s not a real word but…) of Ramadan mornings today…lightening, thunder, stormy rain, breeze that could break a window, cosy bed and an adorable little baby girl to cuddle up and nap.Funny and strange though, that instead of thinking about that cozy bed, all I can think about are my garden lovelies and how excited they must all be for a morning like this…just soaking in all that mineral rich water, strengthening their stems with those hard breezes and enjoying a break from the sun which was pretty harsh past couple weeks.
I can just feel my cabbages and faithful ochro plants swallowing this weather and pushing out healthy organic produce. I feel like I’ve been picking two to three fully grown ochros a day (not to mention the little ones my son picks right off the trees and eats raw) and with this kind of ‘feeding’ I can just see them growing by the second! I can hear my roses singing “Rain! Beautiful Rain!” as their roots just dance under the earth to the melody of this shower. Singing in the shower… hehe:p I can only imagine, sitting inside here, how my flowers, seasonings and tomato plants and fruit trees are just basking and blushing through this glorious weather. Alhamdulillah!
There is so much to be grateful for…we too often forget to just stop and really internalize these blessings. A garden is a cooling to your eyes (and for your wallet)…an ease from Allah(swt)….flowers are a halaal beauty that He has sent for us and we get so busy that we forget to sometimes just sit and ponder His intricate design….His exquisite creations…
Gardening changes you…and I don’t mean just buying a flower in a pot and watering it every day. I mean really getting your hands dirty. Picking up a hoe and really working the earth, getting on your knees, mixing potting soil to suit each different kind of plant as, just like us, they have different likes and dislikes. Some are fussier than others you see:p Some prefer sandy soil, some need extra salts every now and then, some enjoy denser dirt and some like a little extra manure with a cherry on top….okay forget the cherry…
I’m not afraid to admit, that although I’ve been a tomboy most of my life, I’ve still always been really ‘girly’ about a lot of things. Seeing a cockroach is to RUN! Seeing a frog well worst yet! Touching manure???!?? Excuse me?!??! Cow poop??!? No wayyyyy! Ants bites??Grab the Benadryl quick! Okay just kidding about the benadryl…maybe….not….. :O
I’ve always been able to walk bare-feet on the earth as my dad was raised this way ( he was an authentic child of the bush as they say) and we all grew up climbing trees and really enjoying nature. But getting my hands down and dirty and being on the ground on my knees, putting new little roots and seeds into the earth, uncovers this overwhelming sense of simplicity. It really changes the way you look at things. My pumpkin patch is huge now, I mean it has surrounded the five fingers tree and is reaching to the sky.Every time I look at that ambitious little fella, I am reminded that his grand spread came from one tiny little seed that I had dried and put down in the earth. It humbles me every time I look at him. It reminds me of Allah(swt)’s intricate design… So much science in that one little seed. Mashaa Allah…
Don’t get me wrong though, if you throw a frog on me or a cockroach lands on me I WILL SCREAM! :p What’s different though, is that if I’m watering plants and a little frog dude jumps out a couple feet away from me I won’t run in the other direction anymore, because I mean he’s a part of nature. My eldest son catches little rat snakes in the yard like every single day and because I know they aren’t venomous, I’m not gonna’ hide indoors because I know they’re out there. I mean nature isn’t out to get me and most creatures are more afraid of us than we are of them. Ironically, we are the ones who cause the MOST destruction to nature when you really think about it. So really, those frogs and cockroaches and snakes should be screaming when they see us! Yet still, they stand firm, maintaining their right to be there. I find that quite inspiring…
It’s the rainy season so most mornings, like this one, the sky feeds my garden lovelies. But on the days where I go out to give them a little shower, bare feet and sleepy….there is a calmness that takes you over as you walk over the earth. An energy that just passes through you. A therapy for every one of your five senses. Your SIGHT is immediately met with the morning shine of roses and the richness of green in the early morning, your HEARING is met by the sways and rustles of the leaves and trees, your sense of SMELL is met with instant tranquility as the water passes over the rosemary and the eastern breezes blow its fragrance right into your soul, your sense of TOUCH is caressed by the soft grasses under your feet and the smoothness of leaves and petals as you can’t restrain yourself from feeling them as you pass them by. Although I can’t pick the cherry tomatoes and chew on basil leaves straight off the tree during Ramadan, I can still treat my sense of TASTE at iftar time with freshly grown produce and herbs from the garden. Gardening connects you to nature on every level. Alhamdulillah for Allah(swt)’s mercies…Sometimes I feel like He has given us ALL more than we deserve ….because in this bustling world….too many of us just want more and more and more….and NEVER take the time to appreciate the incredible miracles that we have already been given.
You know what the best part of all of this was? It was having my dad be the one to teach me how to maintain a garden and have it thrive. There is NOTHING like learning from ‘experience’. As you grow older you tend to realize this more and more. A book can NEVER teach you the way ‘experience’ can. When you’re a young adult you tend to think you know everything and can learn everything on your own by reading and goggling. But that’s just not true. Not for anything! Because while a book can give the instructions, it can NEVER give you the real and authentic hands-on method. We need to start appreciating our elders… They are like diamonds in the rough. They may not all be perfect, but they can teach us a lot. We live in a spoilt generation, and for some reason, diamonds aren’t that interesting anymore… and if this continues we will never see a truly happy future. Always remember that there is a big difference between ‘knowledge’ and ‘information’.
My dad is the best gardener I know…Alhamdulillah. I don’t think anyone I know or who knows him would contest that statement. His passion for the earth, his resilience, his understanding of the science behind gardening and his respect for nature has made him a true diamond in the rough. I’ve always known my mom was my carbon copy. We have always had a lot in common. Same habits, same interests and we could always sit and talk about anything. It’s really great having a mom as a friend at this age in your life. It’s a stability and joy that I would wish for any and everyone. My dad however, I only realized just how much I also have in common with him when we started gardening together. I have learned and am continuing to learn so much from him and my children are learning so many ‘old school’ life lessons from him as the days go by. Jaza Kallah Kahir Dad! May Allah(swt) grant you many more long and healthy years…Ameen!
He always tells me to have a little extra of this and that potted out and plant a few extra patchoi and cabbages and chive. Why? So that when I have family and friends over I’ll always have something to ‘give’. ‘Giving’…the art of giving. We, again, live in a superficial world where we get sooo accustomed to ‘taking’ that giving something so ‘seemingly’ insignificant never even crosses our minds. When in reality, you would not believe how grateful people are for a free bundle of chive, or an organically grown cabbage, or a nice hand of patchoi. You would not believe how excited kids get when you give them a little flower in a pot to take home and water. It all comes down to simplicity. Living a simple life… gardening is truly a beautiful thing….