Last year, our ‘40-days of Lent’ focused on loving what we have, which included taking care of our belongings and of course our planetary home.
Several of this year’s posts have brought the word frugality into the conversation as part of taking care of others and the world around us. I think of these words, ‘frugality’ and ‘care’ as a team that works well together. Recently during the first warm days of Spring, I’ve been taking care of the small pollinator garden my husband and I are nurturing along the side of our small house.
This will be the garden’s fourth summer, and it has been a bigger challenge than we expected. At first, it looked like nothing would grow and we had thought we lost all we learned from many years of gardening. But we soon realized it wasn’t what we were doing, but rather the soil we had to work with.
I can’t begin to count the bags of organic soil, compost and ‘Black Forest’ mulch we’ve dug into it to reclaim the soil from years of commercial landscape management, which it seems, literally poisoned the soil. Nor do I even want to think of the scraggly shrubs that had to be dug out and all the thick plastic landscaping cloth we cut away as we planted seedlings. With thoughts of frugality, I try to resist enthusiastically crowding in too many plants.
A friend sent me a saying, “If something is not eating your plants, your garden is not part of the ecosystem,” and I noticed that years of commercial landscaping had also removed any semblance of an ecosystem. That year for Mother’s Day, I asked my son and his wife to bring rotting logs from the woods behind their house for our garden.
The following autumn we hauled in shredded leaves to work into the soil. As I began this spring’s gardening by cleaning away the debris from last fall, left in place to encourage the ecosystem, I noticed many more earthworms working the soil than in the past. This year, the plants breaking ground look strong, and we happily anticipate seeing more bee, butterfly, and other insect life as they grow and bloom.
This is such a small effort in the vast scheme of things. But the small efforts of many of us humans can build toward the major change needed on Earth. If nothing else, they engender the
love, respect, and care we owe this planet that brings us so many gifts.
It will take everyone’s mindfulness, muscle, and courage to face the challenges of the changing climate and to act, both personally and in public life, to bring back balance and life to so much that has been deadened.
Together, we can make this happen.