When my daughter was very young, she asked me one day if I had gone outside and put my hands in the dirt yet. When I asked her why, she noted very matter-of-factly that I was grumpy and that playing in the dirt always made me happy. She was right! Being outside was not only connecting me with creation, but it was also re-creating my spirit each day.
They say that soil has beneficial microbes in it that can support mental health–that digging your hands in the earth can actually raise your serotonin levels. I don’t know about you, but it doesn’t take research for me to appreciate that being outside is important to my wellbeing.
Besides the joy of caring for the earth, I am grateful that creation teaches me to slow down, be observant, and appreciate the simple things. It also inspires the child-like curiosity and wonder that so many of us lose as adults. I never cease to be amazed by what I witness among the flowers and veggies and berries–mounds full of sweet potatoes unexpectedly discovered underground on a dying vine, the first eggs of proud hens resting in clean sawdust, and small green shoots peeking up from cold winter dirt and stretching their arms towards the light.
Gardening reminds me that as creation changes and flows through each season, that I too do the same. God did not stop creating me when I was born. My spirit, my mind, and my body continue to be nurtured by the Master Gardener so that I can unfold and grow a little more each day.