There have been many times when I am out and about, and I feel an almost compelling need to roll in the leaves or the grass or the freshly tilled soil as if there were some sort of other worldly connection. Being in my garden, getting my hands dirty as I play with the worms, smelling the soil and tasting the acidity is one of the most beguiling of pleasures. Diane Ackerman of Cultivating Delight: A Natural History of My Garden, An Alchemy of Mind: The Marvel and Mystery of the Brain, and A Natural History of the Senses fame was the first person/author who helped me realize I could not realistically be classified as crazy due to my intense love of nature. It was a relief to know there is some primordial part of my brain which strives to connect the world of plants. It is possible to love a redwood forest and never really want to leave the bliss of the trees. I have no name for this emotional connection – it is deeper than love, more attuned to something out of epigenetics in which the forest is affecting some aspect of my phenotype in a manner yet to be determined.
All of those contentious emotions stimulated me to create a quilt I could wrap myself in at night (it was far better than say, sleeping directly in the garden and getting all muddy) and at least pretend (to some lesser extent) I was indeed, in the garden. The quilt was a three and 1/2 year labor of love (the twin quilt belongs to my sister and brother in law who also relish the joys of the garden, however not to my level) as I hand quilted the top, bottom and batting together. Each stitch, each section brings back some far off memory of a garden I have viewed or one I hope to view in the future – something of enduring love and joy.
This quilt was also my first real experience with doing the color work a great quilter attends to and I have a few small sections of which I am paricularly proud – almost the equivalent of creating a garden which blooms and grows something in each season so the ground would not appear entirely barren at any one time. It was interesting how the scraps found their combination through my eyes and there are portions which required no work – it just happened without my full engagement.
This is the poem that came to me as I was quilting:
The Garden That Was Loved Into Being
Accidentally on Purpose
Grown all over
A garden with a mistaken frenzy
No boundaries; What nature would do
If we just left her alone
To brazenly grow amuck
A garden of earthly rambles
If evolution could approximate purposelessness
Save for beauty
When you don’t get what you planted,
You get the garden of plants with
Minds of their own
GROW AS YOU WILL
Now each night, as I sleep, I dream of being some sort of seed, something that with just the right amount of sunlight and moisture will become something which is not an ordinary hot house flower!