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Busy Hands, Calmer Mind

When the pandemic began, my hands got busy, as did many others'. I sprouted seeds and began tending them in our home greenhouse. Some people fired up their sewing machines and became mask making heroes. One friend started writing a poem each day. Another learned how to embroider from You Tube videos and now would rather stitch than do almost anything else. History is filled with examples of people using creativity to induce calm during times of collective stress. Like my friend, World War I soliders who suffered with PTSD practiced embroidery therapy.

After the frost date for our zone, I planted our tender seedlings. Most of them were vegetables; lettuce, okra, cucumbers, tomatoes and green beans. I envisioned feeding my small family of three and a few neighbors until the deer started visiting our yard for late night salads. Eventhough the deer ate my dream of home garden subsistence; the flowers fed our spirits.

Columbines self-seed and, per usual, were among the earliest show offs. They were soon joined by azaleas, daffodils and other perennials. We added annuals chosen during a couple of mask-covered and sanitized trips to our local hardware store.

My mother and I are most connected by our shared love of growing flowers. She doesn't have the same dream of feeding the world; so, she didn't mourn the vegetables (more room for flowers).

Her expertise is feeding the soul through careful pruning, fertilizing and weeding. Until the extreme heat began, we spent much of our days outside. Now we move in short spurts to refresh bird baths, feeders and spot-water withering plants.

After we clean the dinner dishes, we have a nightly ritual. We walk around to all of the flowers, call them by their true or our made up names, admire them and assess their needs for the next day.

Last night I was surprised to find a cucumber hidden in the leaves of a lone survivor. Maybe I should plant a fall vegetable garden? It looks like we're going to need to keep our hands moving.

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