Saturday, June 9, 2012

Gratitude in my Garden

My strawberry pot wintered well, thanks to the
good care from dear friend Holly Chamberlain.

Have you ever become so overcome with gratitude that you had to sit down and take a moment to reflect on your good fortune? In our fast-paced lives, I don't think we do that enough.

Sometimes I'm so busy working with my head bent to a task--writing an article under deadline, running errands or pulling stubborn weeds--that I forget to look up and take account of all the good that has come to me.

Before I realize it, I've spent the whole day working on tasks instead of enjoying the moment. Do you do that too?

A few minutes ago I was pulling weeds and picking strawberries in my little garden when I popped a fresh berry into my mouth. When I bit into that berry, I was so overcome with gratitude that I had to grab my laptop and sit down to write.

I have so much to be grateful for that I must share it before I burst. Or worse, before I forget that I am grateful, and instead just continue with my day.

You see, not that many months ago, I didn't think I'd ever have a garden or a place to grow strawberries again. That little berry was enough to nearly bring me to tears.

Not even six months ago, I was unemployed, had to sell my house, downsize, move into a tiny apartment a week before Christmas--and I gave away probably a third of my possessions.

But it was even harder to give up my yard and garden including my fragrant lavender hedge and herbs. I was moving into an apartment with no lawn or even any private space outside where I could sit or garden. But it was cheap, and if I carefully managed my money, I could afford the rent.

I'm a country girl, and even though I've lived in a the city a long time, I still take great comfort in spending time outdoors, even if it's just a few minutes in my garden, getting my hands dirty, pulling weeds and tasting juicy strawberries.

Slowly, after the big upheaval at the end of the year, I've been getting a life back. It's not my old life. It's a completely new life, and that's okay.

For the first three months, I lived in a tiny apartment in a busy commercial district. It overlooked a back alley with garbage and recycling bins visited day and night by people down on their luck. I didn't often open my blinds because I lacked privacy and didn't always feel safe. Sleep was fitful.

I was lugging my laundry outside, around the building and down a dark flight of stairs into a dark basement laundry room. Sometimes the outside door wasn't locked and I feared for my safety.

Fast forward five months from the horrific move and I am happily employed at a great job, writing for our local daily newspaper. Who knew I would love working in the newsroom so much? I am grateful that I have such a cool job and I get to work with great people.

Now I've settled into an incredible vintage duplex with natural light. First thing each morning, I open my curtains and greet the new day. I am grateful for being able to open my curtains. I am grateful for feeling safe and that I'm sleeping at night.

My duplex even has my very own private basement laundry room, so I bought a used washer and dryer. No more schlepping my laundry outside in the rain or the dark. Gratitude!

Out my back door I find solace in my own petite yard, patio and garden. Friends have shared plants from their own gardens. I have planted herbs, strawberries, sunflowers and lavender.

 I'm grateful for my garden. I'm even grateful for my strawberries, which are bearing delicious fruit right now.

This new life is beginning to feel like home.

Strawberries from my garden garnishing my French toast
made with Dave's Killer Blues Bread--dusted lightly with
powdered sugar--and served on my English Spode.
Gratitude can be delicious! Try it!       


  1. Thanks Sue, for your inspiring writing. I am also a fan of Dave's Killer Blues Bread. And homegrown strawberries. And gratitude.

  2. Congratulations! A garden is one of life's great joys. I must admit, for me, the work is sometimes the pleasure. A good day of vigorous weeding, much like a good evening of paddling, does wonders for my psyche.