The Yellow Swing
I was fortunate to have had grandparents and great-grandparents that kept gardens. Whether they spanned an urban acre or filled in the corners of a tiny city lot, those yards exploded with beauty and wonder. One of my most prized memories (besides finding fat worms and throwing them on my cousins) is how my imagination grew alongside every vegetable and flower ...from the seat of an old metal swing.
That swing – with its chipped and repainted layers, its slim-linked chain embedded into the gnarly branch it hung from – was the place where I found peace and made magic in a very concrete world. How could I even begin to rediscover that childhood magic in adulthood?... the freedom of a swing, the marvel of food and flowers growing, the bustle of a humid kitchen, the comfort of a (initially side-eyed) remedy.
This past spring/summer the "How" began to take shape. I decided to start my own garden. And when friends or family would ask, "How's the gardening going?" I found myself talking more about what I learned than what I harvested... because a lot of stuff died. But, in that season of growing more character than food, it clicked. Gardens, wild green spaces, and backyard wonderlands, are a continuous source of growth, learning and peace. It's a thread through time that got lost in some clutter; but not discarded.
The process of starting a garden has made me a kid again – giddy, excited about every little measure of growth. I’m learning new things, day-dreaming, digging up worms (and throwing them into the compost bin). Our kitchen is busy with seed starting, books, catalogues, recipes, and remedies. There are flowers, a little food, and children growing alongside them. Everyday madness, beauty and wonder.
Over the years the gardens change, trees are lost, and mischievous, whimsical children grow up. But if we remember what inspires us, and where we thrive, we can climb back on the swing, kick our legs and feel that rush of juvenile joy.