“Wonders exist in a backyard garden, where bees take the measure of a flower’s electric fields, leafhoppers send vibrational melodies through the stems of plants, and birds behold the hidden palettes of rurples and grurples.” – Ed Yong, A Immense World
My hands are deep in a pile of compost as I revel in its warmth, moisture, and the stirring of life that I hold between my fingers. At this moment, nails dusted with black earth, I realize how lucky I am. To get this opportunity, to find joy in this spectacle of nourishment, in the healing of people and land. We can all choose to be this lucky. We can all be present for the miracles that this world is offering us.
Recently, I’ve become more aware of my sensory environment, in part due to Ed Yong’s book A Immense World, gifted to me by a club member at Brooks. Learning how different senses are used by other beings, I have begun to picture how other animals perceive the world. I now perceive my own garden differently as I picture the ultraviolet markings on flowers that signal to bees and the unheard orchestra of leafhoppers using vibrations to communicate. Picking cucumbers and tomatoes has become an exercise in gentleness as I attempt to salvage each spider web, knowing that each movement of the web is felt by the artist who spun that tiny tapestry.
In realizing the different ways that animals sense the world around them, I have also become more aware of the way that we have deteriorated the environment. Human-caused noise and light pollution wreak havoc on migrating birds, on bats’ abilities to feed themselves, and on night-flying insects. The chorus of bird song is often now drowned out by the hum of human commerce, forcing song patterns to change. Our own sensory experiences are likewise changing as we look up to the night sky, unable to see the Milky Way and experience the full spectacle of our cosmos.
To evade this sensory pollution, I find myself most sensory tuned in during the quite early morning hours. I relish these waking hours that I spend in the garden, where I can be a respectful observer of swallowtail flights and the waggle dances of our honey bees. Where kale leaves are used both in the kitchen and as a dance floor for a myriad of microscopic insects. Where a fistful of compost can be lovingly layered on a garden bed, to be greedily taken up by the beet seeds I sow after. To be not the center of this pulsing garden but at the edge, humbly acting as a piece in the grand orchestra of life. For these few hours a day, I can pretend that habitats aren’t fragmented and our sensory environments are not endangered.
-With Love from the Garden
Farm to Table
This month, our tasting room menu features the following items from the Brooks Estate Garden: garlic, cucumber, cilantro, basil, cherry tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, honey, and mint.