Writing

An Invitation by Keri Evjy

Published in the 2011 Summer Edition of the United Plant Saver’s Newsletter

My enchantment with the green world began very young.   I grew up a water child acting out myriad made-up games with my 2 brothers, with pruned fingers and blood shot eyes until the sun went down.  When we weren’t in the water, my family hiked the hills and peaks of New Hampshire.   At home, my parents offered to purchase seed trays, seeds, and soil for my perennial and vegetable gardens experiments.  I remember my young 9 year-old self setting up the capillary matting and plastic trays, delicately watering the flats daily and running through the house exuberantly heralding the siting of emerging cotyledons pushing through the moist soil.

On my own, my life has been uprooted numerous times across four states and a few time zones in the 15 years since living with my family.  I have cultivated and reluctantly given away gardens, houseplants, and supplies numerous times.  Inevitably, before unpacking my boxed-up life, questions emerge.   How long am I going to be here?  What if the next folks aren’t gardeners and rip up my compost, herbal medicine and fruit trees for a dog run or another priority?  How much time and money am I willing to devote to another person’s asset?  What is my reward for my efforts to bio-remediate the soil and start anew?

Over the last 10 years, I have moved from a place of selfishness to tender concern for our taxed planet and wish to put my time and care where it counts.  At some points this has meant pulling my wondering inside and containing it in houseplants, saving seeds and sharing baby plants with friends and neighbors.  I have also rented so short term that houseplants or container gardening didn’t factor into the equation.  I noticed in myself an absence of connection to the larger picture, cynical, disconnected and ignorant to the cycles of life and death.

We all have daily choices to provide for our basics needs.  In points of clarity, I realized my spiritual and emotional needs to maintain skills and feed my spirit through continual relationship with plants.  In putting down non-determined roots or designing for clients, the green world beckons engagement of me to slow down, dig in, be present in the moment of co-creation and trust in deep relationships; a perfect antidote to moving around.

I still seek the solitude of the hills with my siblings when we gather and find space for wayward plants in my rented backyard.  And when familiar questions arise regarding the effort and cost, I honor my attachment to grow where I am as a gift to myself and my ongoing engagement with the Earth.  We are all tenants to these bodies, this landscape, and the houses we inhabit.  We ultimately all experience the same impermanence.  I can make a difference wherever I am.  I don’t need to see the fruits of my labors.  In fact, the world needs more unattached generosity and unabashed givers.  Perhaps the next renter might see this invitation to garden and run with it.

The plant world has been my lifeline reminder of the cycles of life and death, rebirth and stewardship.  I take a supported seat from this humble place connected to these essential truths.  I am willing to invite in the mystery as a way to maintain my humanity wherever I go.

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Keri Evjy connects people to their food and medicine through Healing Roots Design, an ecological design and herbalism practice located in Asheville, NC. www.healingrootsdesign.com.

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