Middle-Aged White Woman Practices Gardening, Yoga

Photo from March 14, 2010 NY Times Magazine about smart women raising their own food

So reads the headline that staff at The Onion might construct for this post.  I was about to write something silly about how much gardening is like yoga, when a healthy sense of perspective saved me from painful earnestness.   I thought about what The Onion might say about my “revelation.”

Then I picked up the article on Femivorism from last week’s Sunday NY Times (another pause to chuckle at another stereotype), that I’ve been thinking about all week, and realized that the woman in the photo looks a lot like the women in the catalogues that have been coming to my house from Title Nine and Athleta.  Would you be surprised if the next line of attractive sportswear offered by these companies was for pruning and digging?

At 16, the age of my oldest child, I was pretty sure I was unique, at 44, well…

It’s comforting to know that a lot of the people you know want to connect to the rythms of the earth the way they’ve learned to connect to the rythm of their breathing. 

 I came to NJ this weekend for a baby shower hosted by my oldest friend who is moving permanently to Carmel, California.  We have different politics, but  similar habits.  My friend told me yesterday that her husband wants to plant a veggie garden on the slope behind their home. 

I picked up the latest copy of Eating Well magazine and learned that 7 million more Americans planned to grow their own food in 2009 than in 2008, a 19 percent increase from the year before.  According to the article “Grow Your Own Food and Save Money with a Vegetable Garden,”  more and more people are eager to save money and to eat food they know is safe. 

Looks like the number of us Urban Peasant-“Tomato-Canning Feminist”-Yoga Gardeners are everywhere, and that, as our friend Martha might say, is a “good thing.”

Why? Beyond saving money and getting fresh, local, organically grown food, the backyard garden is a place where you get to pause and breathe.  Put a seed in the ground.  Water it.  Wait. 

You’ve just found a great excuse to grab some peace with very little guilt (well, “very little guilt” as long as you don’t feel pressure to plant the thousands of seeds you bought on an impulsive February morning when you were stuck inside during a blizzard…plant just a few and store the rest in the fridge.  The seeds will last). 

Then, put your phone on mute, disconnect from your inbox and don’t look at the pile of laundry in the hall.  Breathe again.  Listen to how quiet it is when you sit still.