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I write of my garden as it grows through the years

The experience of life, the joys and the tears

I write to keep track of the planning and sowing

I write, unabashed, of my passion for growing

I write for myself, and so loved ones can see

The earth, the breeze, my garden and me.

N. Platto

I found this stanza of a longer poem, source long forgotten, circa 1997.  I didn’t know the name N. Platto then, and a quick search now does not provide any further illumination. Actually the SearchEngine was quite adamant that what I really meant to type was Plato, but I insisted it wasn’t.   I am no expert in Ancient Greek philosophers, but N. Platto is clearly not to be confused with Plato, who does not sound like a big fan of flowery poetry in general, and probably did not compose anything with this cadence.  Growth is a simple poem, and I am embarrassed how much I like it since I am pretty sure cool poems are not supposed to rhyme.

I rediscovered this poem today when I found an old garden journal I started while we still lived in Minneapolis, during the chapter when my life was slowly turning full circle from career to creator.  I still have this journal of the Minneapolis gardens, of course, because I find it difficult to part with nostalgia, and it was such a shiny, new, happy time in my life.  I wanted to remember.

As an “enthusiastic” Rememberer, I have been labeled a pack rat, too sentimental, and at worst, a borderline hoarder.  Let me be clear – I do not have stacks of newspapers from the 1980’s towering around me, no mountains of old yellowed margarine tubs filled with flotsom, no crates of oranges rotting on the porch.  I do not have a room full of dead cats that I can’t bear to part with.  I do however feel the need to hold onto some/quite a few boxes of memorabilia, just until I don’t need them anymore.  Admittedly, this process takes me a smidge longer than your average crazy-ish person.

Yes, things are just things and they are not what life is about and if I lost it all my nostalgia in one fell swoop it would be what was meant to be and I would live.  I could be anywhere with nothing and as long as my guys were with me it would be enough.  Stuff is just stuff and material possessions do not bring happiness and I know all that already.  Society values someone with truly excellent disposal skills that are measured by uncluttered rooms and closets and basements and garages.  And guest rooms.  I get it.  I value the peace that comes with simplicity, and strive for that state of zen.

I like to keep old things.  I always have.  And those certain objects that I was pressured into parting with before I was ready?  I still mourn those items.  They haunt me.  I don’t know how else to explain it, other than I was not yet done absorbing and understanding what those objects were trying to tell me. About who I am and who I was and where I came from.

I kept the Minnesota garden journal, pages full of photos of the same garden beds taken in spring, summer, fall and winter over a five-year period.  I liked watching the progression of growth, and the pages helped me remember where certain plants did well and where they failed.  We moved from that garden 11 years ago, and, as is now painfully obvious to anyone paying attention, I still have the journal. I rationalized holding on to it so I could look back and cross-reference certain flora complete with their Latin names, as this information would be surely be useful in the future and therefore it was OK that I kept it.  I don’t have to feel guilty about wanting to keep something if it is potentially useful.  For reference purposes.  Of course, I haven’t really looked at this volume for 10 ½ years, but, see?  I knew I wasn’t done with it yet.

I now know I was meant to find this journal, this spring, so I could revisit a feeling that has laid dormant for a long time.  I still have this journal because I was meant to find that poem again, and now I have.  Now I can write about the time and the place and the feeling of warm dirt on my hands when the long Minnesota winter finally ended and the plants nearly sprained themselves they were so ready to reach the sunlight.  I can write about it now, and I can remember.  Now, finally, it is time for that item to go, to be recycled.



Cool moist earth, ready to turn,

Peonies pushing, unfurling ferns,

These welcome, familiar, early spring urgings

Find me tools in hand, adrenaline surging.

As the first robin lights on my pond and tree

The earth, the breeze, my garden and me.

N. Platto