Very recently, I read a book called "Astrophysics for People in a Hurry" by Neil dGrasse Tyson. In it, he explores the formation of the universe - how just the right conditions create what we now have. Through abundance and lack, the universe struck a perfect balance so that our little planet could harbour life.
At the end of that book, I marveled really at the ability of the universe to just course correct and right itself through a slow process that takes more time than we can even fathom in our heads. Millions of years to perfect and fine-tune.
I have been trying to apply this concept of taking time to nurture this year. I recently found myself in for a community garden plot just down the way from where I am. It's a lovely little hub that's hidden in the woods, close to the inlet.
I have never really thought of gardening as a hobby. Allergies and a general desire to be indoors mostly kept me away from it. But this year, I decided that I could use a little more zen in my life. I've always been good with plants. Things grow when I'm around. Credit to the things of course - they survive in spite of my best efforts to ignore them and how little I actually know about gardening. In a way, we are all made for inhospitable environments.
Back to gardening. I thought I would use my hidden green thumb to grow a few things. In the shockingly calm early morning, I generally make my way down to the plot. I spend most of my time weeding and turning over soil. I check on the few plants I have right now - mostly I'm focusing on herbs and keeping things alive. (The lavender bush disappeared last week - it may have gotten up and walked off.) Then I wander around and admire other people's gardens. There are all manner of happy, healthy fauna from bright blooming marigolds (good for pest control) to early summer strawberries, just starting to turn red to that hardy strongman of verdant plants we call kale.
I'm learning things too. Tending a garden requires patience. Your peppers don't sprout in a week. And not all things will grow. Some aren't simply meant to. And others, you haven't learned to take care of properly. You can't compare your work to the work of others. Different environments just breed different products. A little more sun, and you have bright early tomatoes. A little less sun and they'll need some coaxing.
It helps to be generous too. People who cultivate these plots share with each other. We are all tending to the same earth after all and there are only so many chives you can consume in one week. There is also, only so much you can do to control the environment around you. If the squirrels get to your zucchini first, then you'll have to concede.
Right now, going down to the garden on the weekend is a small joy. Between the butterflies that roam around, the distant sound of water lapping at the shores, and the ever-evolving surprises on my small plot of land, I've found some peace. It's not perfect. But it's peace nonetheless.
That's really what nurturing seems to be about. It's a slow cultivation and a balance of states that allows us to create life. Or coax it out. Some things will survive the harsh winters. Others, despite your best efforts will inevitably fail. We ourselves, grow in the same way, at the mercy of those who tend to us, and the whims of the world around us. But at the end of the day, the universe that's contained in this garden and within us finds a way to right itself.