At last, we have arrived at the big reveal — the announcement of the winner of Margaret Roach’s most excellent book, The Backyard Parables. So without any further delay, the book goes to . . .
Now did you really think I would jump right in with the winner’s name? Not only am I nitty and gritty, I’m also wordy — and a post just wouldn’t be complete unless I added a few hundred words of my own (as well as a few photos, each one dedicated to a season in my garden in honor of the chapters in Parables).
To begin, I think I owe all of you an apology and a few prayerful and humble bows. I’m not worthy. I’m not worthy.
You see, I tried to answer the same question I asked all of you: Why do you garden? For the life of me, I couldn’t come up with an answer. Each time I sat down to write, I froze.
Why do I garden? Why do I garden? Why?
Gardening is, after all, a very time-consuming, labor-intensive madness. There’s the designing of beds, the starting of seeds, the planting of pots, the cultivating of crops, the watering and the weeding and the . . . there really is no end to gardening needs.
Needs — better yet, neediness, is a fine way to define gardening. Yes, gardens are needy creatures. Sometimes it’s too hot for them, sometimes too cold; sometimes it’s too dry, sometimes too wet. Tell me, Goldilocks, is anything ever just right?
Never mind about why do I garden? Why would I garden? Why would anyone garden?
Then, your comments arrived here and on Facebook — and your words were honest, simple, philosophical, and always passionate. I intentionally kept myself out of the conversation because I didn’t want to interrupt your gardening sentiments of love and memories, peace and joy, seeds and sensuality. Here are a few (but please visit the previous post to read all of the others):
From Adele: “I garden because it makes me feel powerful and in control, and in the next second, powerless and humbled with absolutely no control.”
From Sara: “I simply have to, it’s like breathing.”
From Maria: “Because the early morning sun and quiet in my rose garden brings me peace.”
From Lori: “I love that it’s something just for me and at the same time, it’s something for those who come to visit.”
From Melissa: “I garden to be me.”
Try as I might, though, I couldn’t come up with my own answer — partly because I couldn’t hone in on one reason and mostly because each of your comments made me say, “Oh, yeah, that’s another reason.”
Let’s just say that I garden for all that you’ve said — and because I am thrilled and honored and humbled to be part of a group of people who are spirited and nurturing and generous. You are all those things and more. So much more.
I placed all of your names and email addresses in an Excel spreadsheet. As comments arrived, each was given a number. If comments were left here and on Facebook, that was two chances to win. In total, there were 51 comments. I then added the range into the “true random number generator” on Random.org.
What I’m really trying to say is . . .
Congratulations to #3, or as I know her, Cindyricksgers. She wrote:
I garden for the connection…to the earth, yes, but also…
…to my father, gone now almost twenty years, and the memories of the first little garden he helped us plant. I can see him, still cutting the furrow in with the hoe, and letting us – tiny children – measure with our hands to space the dried peas and beans, then helping us to cover them over and tamp down the earth…
…to my mother, who would accept our meager bowls of berries or beans and figure a way to incorporate the little bit we hadn’t already eaten fresh into a dish for the whole family…
…to my children who, when I realized children benefited from watching things grow, caused me to abandon my plans to “never step foot in a garden as an adult”, and helped me to know that we all benefit from getting our hands in the earth…
…to other gardeners everywhere who, I find, are related to me through our connection to growing things, whether we have another single thing in common or not…
…and not only presently, but through time, for I can relate to Henry David Thoreau or E.B.White or Celia Thaxter when they speak of their gardens, as if they were sitting here with me today…
For all of this, I garden.
I will be in touch to get your mailing info — and happy gardening and happy reading.