- Heather "Anish" Anderson, Point6 Ambassador
During these months when travel and even trails have been restricted, I’ve spent countless hours thinking about where I will go and what adventure I will do when these restrictions are lifted. I call it “post-Covid dreaming.”
However, I don’t spend all my time on that. I’m a firm believer in living in the moment—even when the moments are hard or scary. One of the best things about where I’m currently living is that there is an opportunity to plant a garden. A really big garden. The kind where you can grow enough fresh veggies to supply you through summer and fall as well as squash and carrots for the winter.
I grew up helping my parents with their huge half-acre garden. I helped plant, pick bugs, water, weed, harvest, and preserve. We had vegetables by the wheelbarrow and huge shelving units full of canned beans, corn, pumpkin, pickles, beets, jam, and more.
It was exhausting work, and yet there was a satisfying rhythm to it as well as a delicious one in mid-winter. This year, for the first time since I was in high school, I’ve spent hours in the yard digging sod, tilling, planting, watering…
It’s hard work. Harder than it was 25 years ago! But there is still that satisfying rhythm to it. One that reminds me of thru-hiking. Thru-hiking is also hard work. You end each day sore and tired, yet it’s deeply satisfying.
Perhaps it’s the fresh air, or the exercise. Perhaps it’s the dirt under your nails and the bits that inevitably end up in your mouth (there is a natural antidepressant in soil…just google Mycobacterium vaccae). Perhaps it’s all of these things and more. All I know is that working the land to grow food has proven to be as rewarding as walking across it.
Activities that connect us to nature and to the cycle and rhythm of season inevitably complete us in ways that artificial stimulus, screens, and desk jobs cannot. We are animals meant to rise with the sun and sleep with the moon. We’re meant to dig our toes and hands into the dirt, drink water from the streams and eat fresh food from where it grows.
When the stress of the Covid life begins to bog me down, I go out to my garden. I look at the little rows of plants each doing what they do best—growing. I roll a handful of dirt in my hand, letting it trickle through my fingers and remember that I do not have to tread a mountain path for days on end to be part of nature. I dream of life post-covid, but I also embrace the life of now.