Every family is an ecosystem to itself, a vegetable bed set in a larger landscape of great mosaic beauty.
This fertile soil in which our children grow is a complex, wondrous, wobbling weave of ancestry, biology, spirit, life stages, genders, roles, grief and losses, professions, passions, dreams, possibilities.
It is so vast even in its smallness, that its essence is nameless. You feel family more than you understand it. Love is its currency.
To be a joyful gardener within this rich web of life, we cannot stand apart as an unmoved observer chewing on a straw or command the day’s chores with the conviction of an all-knowing farm boss.
We must enter the action as a farm hand starting the day with two empty hands and a willingness to stay present to the cycles of life. On this depends our ability to feed ourselves even in the lean times of the hard winters.
As a gardener of this place, we must step into the cycle of life with a little bit of mind, some craftsmanship, and a lot of heart.
When we hoe, sow, dig, plant, weed, harvest, water, tend, or lay the land fallow, we sink into relationship and find our rightful place in the flow of family life.
There is more here that is unspoken and artful, than there is articulation and certitude. It’s our willingness to act and adapt, to listen and learn, that allows the land to thrive from its inclusion of us. The health of the crop testifies to the love of the gardener.
With time, the artful gardener becomes a responsive member of a dynamic, vital, ever-changing life cycle. From these relationships grows a knowing of our responsibility, such as it is, to sustain the creativity and regenerativity of the land that is become our home.
The practice of parenting is therefore a practice of humility. Our commitment to the land humbles us. In tending the earth, we become more like the earth, humus, the root meaning of humility.
We are changed by the culture we cultivate.
Our sense of belonging to this land, this home, grows from our capacity to surrender, yield and submit our knowing to the demands of what we grow.
Parenting is sacrifice only in that we are made sacred by it.