lessons learned: what thinning plants can teach us about patience

Adopt the pace of nature:  her secret is patience. 

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

beet seedlings

 

One night last week after studying for tests and recounting the day’s “learning opportunities,” I headed outside while my daughter got ready for bed.  In spite of Evening knocking at the door a bit earlier each night, I have managed to take advantage of at least 30 minutes to turn the chickens out, peruse the gardens, and check on new autumn seedlings.

The turnips and beets had sprouted rather quickly and managed to start vying for the good spots before I’d had the chance to separate them.  “Time to thin,” I thought, “Argh!”

For some, thinning is not a hard task.  It merely requires pulling seedlings from the dirt so that other sprouts may live.  Without thinning, plants become crowded as they compete for space and nutrients then they cannot grow.

For me, however, I can’t bear to see all those small pieces of creation going to waste or being sacrificed on behalf of others.  I know it may sound silly, but I commit to saving as many as I can which has undoubtedly taught me a thing or two about Patience.

Patience finds her way into our soul at an early age.  She’s the friend who squats with us as we watch ants crawl down the sidewalk.  She’s the teacher who commits that extra time and energy until we understand how to read.  She’s the parent who tells the same story over and over again because it’s our favorite.

And Patience joined me in the garden as I plunked myself down that  night beside the first row of seedlings.

You see, in my process of thinning, I carefully pull out small plants with roots as thin as thread.  I must be gentle and cautious to protect these tiny treasures.  Time slows, and mind and spirit settle in for the task at hand.  Each small seedling is nurtured and guarded until tucked safely away into her new bed.  And all along, Patience smiles over my shoulder and whispers, “Nice work.”

Nature has a way of doing that–teaching us to slow down, stop multitasking and set a new pace.  I am so grateful She shared her secret of Patience with me.

 

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