The Covid Garden

While I don’t believe in prescriptions for living, I do believe in the restorative ingredients in a calm atmosphere. I adore quiet spaces because they settle your mind and heart. We have several tranquil nooks in our house. I rotate around them and out to our garden. One of my best investments in calm is the rocking chair on our porch that sits facing east for the new day.

Most mornings I step outside to an ebony sky. The last few stars are yawning. I’m mummy-wrapped in fleece from head to toe with a furry fuschia robe and old ankle-high shearling slippers. With coffee in hand, I rock and sip as the stars fade and the morning light floods the sky.

With a hint of the new day, backyard birds sing. Some smooth, some brittle, their collective noise like an orchestra tuning. The curious chorus continues until the sky turns blue and the sun ascends behind tall pines in my neighbor’s yard. Then a new sound emerges. It’s the low rumble from the first wave of cars beyond our little forest. It’s soothing like the white noise from a conch shell. I rock until peace is in my pores.

In the spring, I rock at noon as well. The sky can’t match the sunrise, but the garden can. It’s filled with soulful offerings like lavender and rosemary, bee balm, and roses. Last spring I made friends with the new daisies who grew beside the rocker. Three capital white blooms introduced themselves in early June while a gang of newbies waited their turn below. The blooms leaned to me in salutation. I actually said hello.

Having the daisies live so close to home, I saw them rise and unfold throughout the spring. First with tight green buds, then with emancipated petals. For weeks blooms stood two feet tall with circles of perfectly white petals surrounding golden, nubby yolks. In August, when their heads drooped and their petals wilted, I trimmed their stems like an undertaker. 

During our Covid haze and sadness this last year, I relied more than ever on my rocker and our garden for calm, expanding the offerings weekly and sometimes daily. The daisies are back, and I’m rocking beside their happy faces, but I’m also taking a wider view of the garden. With Covid came more time at home and an opportunity to touch the entire landscape on a regular basis. Now, every new bud inspires. Weeds don’t make me crazy. I’m more curious than anything, and I have time for extraction. If I was bunched by a tight schedule, I couldn’t be as forgiving.

A small stone pot is holding Zinnia seeds sprouts within inches of my rocker. When a seed casing cuffs a petal, I think of strength, but mostly it’s a wonder. In two months that tiny plant will be three feet tall with stems like an octopus. Crayola-colored blooms will fill the air. All from a papery seed.

With time and a quiet place, you can absorb the abundance in a space, the details, and the nourishment. My wish for anyone, who is struggling through this phase of Covid, is a quiet spot that gives back. It’s as healing as any prescription.