Symphonies and Stewards of the Earth

“Music is what happens between the notes.”

If every sound we heard was absolutely incredible and mesmerizing, and we never heard any other kinds of sounds (or silence), we would eventually tire of the beautiful melodies we were hearing. We need variety in order to appreciate different forms of beauty!

If, every time we walked through our garden, all we saw were bright bursts of color and vibrant, show stopping examples of how Mother Nature can really make our jaws drop, a stunning summer garden would quickly become normal and mundane. 

Since we don’t get to experience that constantly mind-blowing view, we look forward to it and really soak it in while we have it. During other parts of the year, we get to observe other displays of Mother’s magic; lush, wet springtimes full of eager flower faces that turn towards the sun, a hypnotic blend of chartreuse and vermillion leaves spiraling and dancing in the wind, and frost creeping along stems and turning everything into a dazzling, quiet alabaster. 

We celebrate each of the seasons, taking in an amazing symphony of colors, blooms and textures. As gardeners, we can be assistant directors of this symphony. We can choose plants for our gardens that will bring full season interest, delighting our senses all year long. Some will bloom brightly during a season, while their neighbors are in the background, quietly playing the supporting roles of gathering nutrients and making mulch for their garden community. Then, the showstoppers will fade out and it’s time for their neighbors to take the spotlight. Each one is playing their role, exactly when they are supposed to. 

If you have been keeping up with our blog lately, you may have noticed how central this theme of seasons has been for the My Thyme Gardens team. We reflect on seasons of lush growth and color, as well as seasons of quiet and reflection. The cycles and rhythms that dictate nature’s functions are not just meant for plants and creatures; they are just as much meant for us. We can mirror the patterns of our friends in the garden as they participate in the music of life. They teach us to embrace the season we’re in, taking a pause for reflection and sometimes even to add an exclamation point to what was just shared. So, as we marinate on what it means to be a steward of the earth, we think of these seasons and their messages. 

One of the most important parts of being a steward of the earth is making sure that we are listening to what the earth is saying. Synergy with the seasons brings balance to our often wild days, and helps us know how to better fill our places. We can certainly spend our time completing tasks that seem positive for the earth, but if we are out of touch with the earth’s rhythms, then we are not filling our places as effectively as we could be. 

Be aware of times when you can be a help to your community, including the blossoming flowers, busy pollinators, migrating elk, humble earthworms, elder evergreens and so forth. How can you help heal the earth’s scars? Every one of us has the opportunity to be stewards of the earth. 

We can work with the soil, making it richer and more vibrant, or bury seeds that will grow into strong, happy plants. We can grow our own vegetables in a harmonious environment, and then compost the parts of them that we don’t eat. Back to the earth, back into the circle of life. We can spot some trash and relocate it to the garbage, keeping our planet as healthy as possible. We can gain awareness around how caterpillars curl up in freshly fallen leaves when the days get shorter and colder, or how birds gather materials to make their nests in safe places. We can make our gardens, homes and lifestyles more conducive to the betterment of every living thing around us. 

Simultaneously, observe those times when you don’t have the capacity to help; when you need to slow down, rest, and fill your cup. This is an invitation to honor an unhurried pace, when it is your duty to take a step back and let someone else do the leading. Embrace where you are. In a symphony, the rest is just as important as the finale.

Cardinals in the snow through the window blinds
This pair of cardinals is eating Calicarpa berries.
Photo cred: Richard Thomas

“Doing what you can” sometimes means easing up on that all-consuming need for productivity and accomplishment, and resting so that your voice is kinder towards yourself and others. 

We are a part of this beautiful planet and its ecosystem for a limited amount of time, but it is plenty of time to tend to the soil and leave a healthy mark on Mother Nature. May we add to the beauty of her song.

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