One of the things I enjoy about living in New Orleans is year round gardening. We do not have much down time to just clean and sharpen tools. A few weeks ago we harvested our lemon and satsuma trees. We still have bok choy and greens growing in one bed. With an average last frost in early February, I am currently weeding, composting, and turning soils in our raised beds. In two weeks I will start some seeds indoors.
We plan to expand our gardens this year. Last week my order of 22 varieties of heirloom/organic vegetable and herb seeds arrived. I spent a good bit of time choosing the seed types to match what we want to grow and will be able to grow. To maximize our limited sunny ground space, I chose squash and melon that produce small fruit so that we can grow them from pots hanging in the sun. We will focus on plants that have grown well in the past two years – okra, peppers, basil, cucumbers, and eggplant and will continue experimenting with some of our less successful crops like tomatoes and tomatillos. We are adding beans and brussels sprouts to the garden, along with our usual range of herbs. Given our abundance of seeds, I will germinate at least double what I intend to plant and give the surplus to friends and a local middle school’s urban garden student project.
I am always energized by weeding, watering, and tending to crops in my personal Garden of Eden.
I am fortunate that I enjoy working in our gardens. I consider such activities as integral to my stage four cancer treatment as chemotherapy and my monthly x-geva injections. I have no interest or need to demonstrate the value of gardening to my cancer treatments as an empirical or scientific truth. I consider the treatment value as a mystical truth. In his book Servanthood, Bennett Sims writes that a mystical truth
is the deepest level of truth available to human experience. It means that the opposite of a grasped truth is a truth that does the grasping. The initiative in seeking and finding such truth is generally not one’s own, but comes unbidden by human resolve or expectation. . . mystical truth is confined almost entirely to the category of experience. The mystical while common in human experience, cannot be fully comprehended or satisfactory articulated.
My experiences with mystical truths result in an affirmation of beliefs. For example, a mystical truth for me is found in Matthew (7:7-8) in my recovery from alcohol addiction.
Ask, and it will be given to you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.
This is such a core truth that I have no interest, desire, or ability to explain or particularly articulate the truth. I know and have experienced the truth of the statement. I fully attribute my gardens as one reason why I have now lived 13 months longer than my initial cancer prognosis. I know too that I still have much to do on this earth and will continue to walk down that road of recovery (and gardening).
I am truly blessed.