“Your deepest roots are in nature. No matter who you are, where you live, or what kind of life you lead, you remain irrevocably linked with the rest of creation. ” -Charles Cook
It’s not every Saturday that I find myself putting on gardening gloves and squatting in the dirt at 8:30 am, but last Saturday that’s exactly what I was doing.
Lichgate on High Road was hosting a garden workday event, which meant I was hosting a garden workday event. For those of you who don’t know, Lichgate is three acres of wilderness nestled within the hustle and bustle of Tallahassee. A massive oak tree over 300 years old rests in front of an old cottage, with gardens scattered across the property. When I first visited Lichgate I was transported from a big city full of the stresses of everyday life to a magical place, and the experience was truly grounding for me. I still get that same sense of being rooted in nature after every visit.
I currently intern with Lichgate on High Road as part of my studies at Florida State University, and the experience is unlike any other academic internship; while I still get my fill of writing and paperwork I balance it out with muddy feet and dirty hands after days spent pulling weeds and planting produce.
The Labor of Love event was created to help the main garden recover from the wild summer months as well as the damage done by Hurricane Irma. We started the morning by stretching and setting intentions for the day. Then we got to work in the garden.
I learned a lot that sunny Saturday morning. I learned the difference between wild strawberry leaves and stevia leaves. I learned that the beautiful blue flowers covering the ground were actually weeds that needed to be pulled up. I also learned that no matter how many layers you wear, mosquitos will still find a way to bite you.
But above all I learned the importance of stepping away from life for just a moment so you can truly appreciate your surroundings. My intention for that garden workday was to be so lost in the moment that I didn’t worry about the dirt on my pants or the sweat dripping down my face or the fact that I had a million things I needed to do afterwords. Sometimes we just need to keep our bodies busy doing physical labor so that our brains can take a break.
Next time you feel overwhelmed by a project, like turning a giant mess of a garden into a productive space, try setting intentions. Ask yourself, what do I want to get out of this? Maybe you need to practice silence so you can listen more, or maybe you want to keep your mind open to new possibilities. Set an intention for what you’re about to do and see what happens. Who knows, maybe you’ll surprise yourself.
If you feel like you’re missing out after reading this don’t fret! Lichgate has many garden workdays planned and we need all the helping hands we can get. Give me a shout if you’re interested in growing some plants and growing as a person, I’d love to see ya out there.