Long before the garden is born and thriving,
you must in earnest court the land;
nothing grows well or strong without relationship;
therefore, you must meet and honor all her relations:
sun, wind, water, shade, trees, terrain, and insect;
observe their exchange in every season,
for all is reciprocal.
Who are her neighbors?
Learn their substance and character.
You must understand all her hidden moods,
her acid and alkaline tendencies,
her microbial and annelid content,
but also her appetite and yearning for enrichment,
her thirst, her limits, the answers she may give to your questions,
the ways she has suffered, her maladies,
and how she may be healed. Reveal yourself
wholly and humbly; tell the stories
that have led to this wild, desired, and essential intimacy.
Unshroud your soul, damaged, mending, and like hers,
bending to light; say you are an artist seeking transformation
in alliance with her rounded dance
of eruption, reduction, return, and mystery.
Speak your promise to nurture and tend;
speak not of yields but of mutual growth,
and offerings of joyful sustenance,
one to the other.
All this, all this, before you kneel,
before you gently touch
and ready her for seed,
before you imagine flowers and fruit,
you enter fertile years
of shared abundance and love.
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10 thoughts on “On the Proper Courtship of the Land”
Beautiful photos Kitty; are they all of your garden!? My place is in a very rocky and dry area and so I must mostly depend on native plants, so though there a few formal areas only near my house, it is mostly wild flowers and trees which are plentiful, including many I have added. Also clearing and keeping the land neat becomes a problem.
Thank you! We have reverted to more and more native plants, too, mostly to withstand our droughts. And yes, we’ve planted many, many trees and gave let huge patches of lawn revert to wild grass and clover. It does make things easier to manage and seems better for the bees, too. We’ve never bothered with fallen leaves; so many beneficial insects thrive under their cover. But, truly, the 4-legged and gardens are our passions, so I owe a lot of the garden beauty to my beloved!
Thank you, again, for your kindness! Gentle peace.
Well, Kitty, I can see by your gorgeous gardens that you have done every courtship ritual in the book! Here I only have porches to populate with potted flowers, which is about my speed. However, I do see something/someone that I recognize – a cat – check! Yup – I have one of those. And a pothos plant – check! Yup – I have four of those, because they know I’m not a gardener and readily forgive me. 🙂
Pothos last forever, don’t they? One of those plants that gets passed on through generations.
Murphy sleeping on one of them was surprising, but he’s often made surprising choices…one of the things we love about him!
Thanks for visiting, Jeanne! XO
Lovely piece, Kitty 🙂
It reminds me of something I read just yesterday, about a Turkish forest management chief, Hikmet Kaya, working together with his team and villagers, brought in and planted over 25 million saplings from 1978 onwards. He retired in 2002, but his work has made a difference in a country where deforestation and desertification are huge issues.
The article shows this amazing picture of him standing in front of the now-abundant forest, holding a photo of that same land when it was barren, before he began this work:
Oh, I love this, Yacoob. I always used to end the school year sharing the animated film The Man Who Planted Trees (based, I believe, on Jean Giono’s book). I love to see how real people, with earnest and consistent effort, heal the Earth in these ways! Bless this man and his helpers. Thank you for sharing this, Yacoob! Bless you, too!
So beautiful, Kitty – I will read it again in the morning before I go out to the garden to deepen my connection to the land.
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Thank you, Lynn, and great joy in your beautiful garden! It feeds my spirit more than you know. XO
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What a lovely read. Oh my, your garden is simply stunning. All that delightful colour. Gorgeous it all is, you must be both doing something right. Oh, just look at Murphy….sighs. Love and hugs to all.xxxx
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I love Murphy’s superior attitude…His look is so quietly judgmental: How dare I even suggest his choice to nap in my plant pot is bizarre?!
These photos are all from last summer. Still waiting on any blooms this cold, damp spring. MUCH warmer weather coming next Monday, which should kick everything into high gear!
Thank you for your kindness, dear friend. Love to all. XO