Monday, July 2, 2018

A Pot of Herbal Wisdom

Fresh basil plant whose leaves are used extensively in cookery as a garnish and as a herb seasoning ingredient isolated on white

For those of you who have followed along with me on this garden path called life for the last 5 years, you know two things about me: 1. My favorite saying is: "Bloom where you're planted." 2. Every time I learn something new about plants and gardening, I always learn something about life as well.

My gardening odyssey has taken me everywhere from a large yard with flowers, veggies and a kitchen herb garden, to container gardening on a screened-in apartment porch, to a little tabletop garden in my current studio apartment. Wherever I live, I have to have something green that reminds me to bloom where I'm planted. No plant that I've ever worked with has taught me that lesson as well as my beloved and favorite cooking herb: basil. Specifically, that lovely, sweet basil so beloved by every Italian cook from here to Italy and back.

I've had successes and failures during my gardening education of the last 25 years as has every person who undertakes the daunting task of impersonating God and Mother Nature's handiwork. During that time, I have only once failed to produce a healthy, abundant basil plant and that was due to questionable soil and groundwater in a yard adjacent to a former industrial site that authorities swore they had "cleaned up." Other than that, I've been able to produce those sweet-smelling basil leaves even in a small pot, on a small table, in front of a window that doesn't get direct light until well into the afternoon. I've even grown it under a regular living room lamp! What does all this tell me? That this species of plant has a will to live, to grow, and to adapt to its environment so that it can be the best basil plant it possibly can. Can we all say the same about our own lives?

Right now, today, take a look around you at your own environment, both the physical one and the one inside where you really live. If there are things you can change so that your life can grow and blossom, like releasing what no longer serves you or brings joy and value to your life, then by all means weed those things out and replenish your inner soil with things that do. If there are things you can't change right now, perhaps due to financial or other issues, how can you adapt your life so that it blooms regardless of where you are? If a plant can figure it out, so can you.

As for me, right now, all this writing about basil is making me hungry for some fresh spaghetti sauce with organic tomatoes and a handful of greens from my very own tiny garden, cooked in my own tiny kitchen. It's all about perspective, folks. May you all bloom beautiful lives for yourself. 

And so it is.