Some summers, I spend a lot of time reading and writing. Lately, however, I've been taking lots of time to be outside and working with my garden. It may be that I spend so much time sitting during the school year -- working on the computer, grading papers, reading for my classes, etc. -- that I want to do something completely different during my summer break from teaching. Or, it may be that since I'm inside for so much of the rest of the year that I want to be outside as much as possible. Or, I'm avoiding some of those big and little inside chores, e.g. laundry, dishes, cleaning closets, sorting through the basement storage. Whatever the primary, secondary, or even tertiary motivations are, most days you'll find me outside in the garden.
Working in the dirt, compost, and growing stuff in my vegetable is highly satisfying. In the spring, armed with my spade and pitchfork, I work the soil by myself, turning it over and mixing in manure, organic fertilizer, humus, and the lovely compost from one of my three bins. Sometimes a child or two will help dig, edge, and work the soil for my gardens. When the soil is prepped and before I put in the fences, I will stand back and look at the brown soil as if it were a blank canvas. Even though I've been pondering my arrangement of plants during the wintery, snowy months, I like to think about this dirt, full of potential yet currently without any visible growth. In four short months, it will be brimming with nutrient dense foods not only for my family, but for neighbors and friends.
Sometimes it is good to acknowledge the blank canvas in order to more fully appreciate the finished product.