“Welcome back, friends.”
Lately, these words keep popping up in my mind as I slowly walk the garden looking for signs of growth and change. Sometimes I say them out loud, too, greeting each plant as they emerge. I feel so happy to see them again. Grateful that we are here, in spring. Back at the beginning. Together.
I’ve come a long way. Six years ago I wrote about reading, The Lost Language of Plants and feeling some discomfort with the idea of talking to plants. Around the same time I listened to a talk with Native American environmentalist Winona LaDuke in which she referred to plants as, “our relatives with roots.” Something about that phrase packed a punch and I believe it was another catalyst that opened up the possibility of seeing that there can be a real relationship between plants and people. It’s not talking per-se, but something else that the english language has no words to define. Seeing plants as beings that are equal to me, rather than lesser objects that I have bought and own has changed things profoundly, made my experience as a gardener and a human being so much richer, more connected. This is not about being with the land as we want and taking what we can. That is the way of the colonizer: a way of being that I have rejected all my life while still enacting it blindly.
It was some time later when I read Robin Wall Kimmerer’s, Braiding Sweetgrass. I recall a passage where she writes about plants as being more evolved, knowledgable beings who have been here longer than humans and how we can look to them for guidance in how to be in the world.
It seems that if we want to survive beyond the next 30 years, the way forward is in reciprocity with everything around us. Change is hard, but we can begin to school ourselves in another way of being by turning to the garden for guidance. I think of these things everyday as I walk the garden a grey-haired, middle-age woman, moving ever-so-slowly, speaking out loud to no one and everyone (all of my green friends).