“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need” — Cicero
My attention comes back to the garden this time of year. It’s too soon for annuals, too early for most perennials, and my sinuses are reminding me that the cool air is filling up with pollen. We celebrate the great awakening of the garden and surrounding landscape, even with a few sniffles and sneezes to punctuate the season.
I know a few things about awakening. I came into this world in April, so I mark the end and subsequent beginning of another trip around the sun this month. Take enough of those trips, and reinvent yourself enough times, and you begin to see patterns of behavior. Learning who we are is like reading the current in a river, finding the deepest channel and accelerating downstream towards our destiny.
I mostly write in a home office with a solid library of books patiently awaiting discovery. There are books I’ve read many times and books I’ve told myself I’ll get to someday. For better or worse the convenience of a Kindle tends to dominate my reading selection nowadays. So why keep books at all? For the same reason I plant daffodils. Daffodils are planted once and reappear in your life regularly to punctuate the moment. Books tend to do the same. I’ve turned to my collection many times over the years since I’ve planted them on the shelf.
What we plant in ourselves tends to grow. Will we amend our minds with rich content and labor, or simply lean into whatever other’s grow for us? Give me dirty fingernails thumbing through favorite books. We mine for gold in the garden and in the library. These are our days to dig deeply and plant that which will live beyond us.