spinach medicine

We just had the first beautiful weekend (of many, we hope) up north, and to celebrate I spent the majority of the sunniest and warmest sunday in a long while in my garden.

Last year the people at the house planted spinach quite late in the season, and for some crazy reason it made it through the cold winter and has gone nuts in the entire bed, presenting rows and rows of thick, sweet, tender green leaves that are now residing in my fridge and freezer and stomach. 

It's been a really, really long time since I had much to do with gardens. As per my previous post about killing versus nourishing houseplants, my relationship with the tended outdoors variety has historically faired just about as well as those that resided inside with me. I have had great ideas about gardening; great philosophies and visions, but have just usually been so preoccupied with stressing myself out and worrying about silly things that watering, weeding and all the rest fell by the wayside rather quickly in the process. It just never really seemed that important, aside from being something I would like to do so that I could tell people that I was a gardener. Maybe put together a spectacular meal with my homegrown heritage varietal baby lettuces for friends and then dust my shoulders off a little bit…but I couldn't get it together. 

But now, as I seek and understand and follow through with experiences that feed my soulful state, this whole gardening thing has got a hold on me. It was an incredible way to spend a morning out there on Sunday, digging up dirt, getting a mediocre sunburn (more to come, I'm sure), and really communicating with the plants from a  place of gratitude and connection. I am going to plant a bunch of seeds this weekend and just see how far this will take me, as I know that it serves as both active meditation and provides a beautiful bounty of fresh foods, both nourishing to my whole being. 

My sister often reminds me of the fact that the bacteria and organisms in the soil actually have a 'drug-like' effect on our brain chemistry when we get our hands dirty in gardening. They are actually capable of increasing the systemic release of serotonin in our bodies when we make contact, and this increase in neurotransmitters serves to both affirm and solidify the sensation that A) this is good for us, and B) we want to come back and do this more. It's like the earth and the whole system wants nothing more than for us to be in communication and collective action with it, and will reward us handsomely should we open ourselves to that way of being. 

If you are able to truly be present in the experience of gardening, you can feel this happening. There is a draw, a pull between the center and ground of you and the dirt and plants that surround you in that space, and it is magical.  I tell ya, those bacteria have a hold on me, and I am going willingly. 

I am so looking forward to this summer season. Here's to spinach and all it provides, both in the implicit nutrition of the plant and in the food it brings my soul. Thanks, plants. We like you.