Perfect plant moms are called “green thumbs.” Those who can’t grow anything are called “brown thumbs.” I’m still trying to figure out what color thumb I get to have, but I’m learning some things in the process.
I haven’t really gotten on the growing kick until the past year or so. Growing up, my mom always had a garden (And still does - go Mom!), but throwing some dirt and seeds and water together to make plants always kind of seemed like a mystery to me.
Over the past year or so, I slowly started gathering a few houseplants, killed a few, and kept a few alive. Just this spring, I decided to start my very first plants from seeds. I’m growing some cut flowers, tomatoes, herbs, and zucchini. So far, I have picked up a lot more than just basic gardening knowledge.
Remember what I said about gardening being a mystery? Now that I’ve stepped behind the curtain, it still is. I know a lot about what to do to get plants to grow (plant seed, insert water and sunlight, wait…), but every time I see a spot of green peep out from the soil, it feels like a little bit of magic right on my back porch.
It’s the kind of magic that makes your heart do a flip. The kind of magic that makes you go, “Holy cow! Did that really happen?!” The kind of magic that inspires joy and cultivates whimsy.
Have you ever met an avid gardener and felt like they have a few extra life secrets figured out? And they have this (seemingly supernatural) calming presence to them? I’m starting to realize where they get this. I think this might be because they’ve learned to live with the mystery of our world a little better than the rest of us.
You see, you have to do some things to grow a plant. You have to water it. You have to put the seed in the soil. You have to make sure it gets some light. But, at the end of the day, the inner workings of how to grow something is basically a big ol’ mystery. You do all this work and then you have to wait (a little too much for my impatient soul). Then, one day the plant just shoots up out of nowhere. Gardeners get a front row seat to this magic and mystery and awe-inspiring everyday beauty, and I wonder if this gives gardeners a leg up on the rest of us when it comes to living alongside mystery.
Living alongside the mystery teaches us wonder. It teaches us that we don’t have to figure it all out. It teaches us that we can be a spectator and knowledge-seeker of something beautiful and wonderful and great without having to master that thing. Life is worth living even if I don’t have it all figured out. In fact, the mystery makes for a great story, a wonderful surprise, and a practice of living in the unknown.
Growing plants has awakened the wonder in my soul and given me an everyday excitement. It teaches me to live alongside the mystery and to not be so concerned about figuring it all out right now because when I just water and nurture and care for my plants, they grow. I don’t have to know how it all works.
So this year I hope to become a little more like some of those avid gardeners I know, living at peace with the mysteries God plants in my life.
What awakens the wonder in your soul?
Hi, I'm Emma!
A Maryland girl who moved to Washington state seeking adventure, I adore writing and delight in sharing my favorite things. I celebrate whimsy and you can find me doing a happy dance when something really strikes my fancy.