Wednesday, November 9, 2011
National Happiness Week!
I think it obvious that my post for National Happiness Week will have to do with gardening. After all, I call myself an obsessed gardener. But gardening is part of a larger viewpoint of what makes me a happy person (sometimes I think I am the happiest person I know...perhaps not, but I think so). The viewpoint that gives me satisfaction and happiness is to live my values as much as I can, and the latter part of that sentence is almost as important as the former.
I value the aesthetics of gardening- the scent of tomato leaves on my fingers, the feel of my hands in the dirt, the sight of a spray of passionflowers on a trellis, the experience of observing a humming bird flit from flower to flower and hover as if by magic, the fragrance of a bearded iris, the crisp snap of salad greens in my mouth, the sweet and acid flavor of a raspberry, the joy of chomping a whole fig, and the pleasure of digging a hole and planting a plant in it.
I value the act of producing food for my family to enjoy. Placing that food on the table, describing what ingredients came from the garden, from our work, our hands, and the work of the plants. I value canning and preserving that food and sharing gifts of jam with friends. I value digging into the freezer in December and bringing out my peaches to bake into a pie, as winter transforms to summer for a moment.
The latter part of the sentence I started with "as much as I can" acknowledges the attempt, the striving, the trying to live my values, but also acknowledges my imperfections, that sometimes I cannot live my values fully. Sometimes I use my clothes dryer instead of hanging laundry; I am a vegetarian who sometimes wears leather; I forget to bring my reusable bags to the grocery; I cannot grow all our food.
Overall, I value the act of creating, of making. I recently spoke to a woman who dyes and spins her own fibers into yarn and thread, then knits the final yarn into beautiful garments. She said that people often ask her why she goes to such trouble, she could just buy a sweater. But she understands and values the act of creation, the intellectual challenge of making her own dyes, developing the skill to create consistent and beautiful yarn, and transforming that into a lovely and unique garment. She gets it...and I think get it too.
Happy gardening! Happy living your values! Happy Happiness Week!