As I walk and hike along the forest and mountain trails, I spend some time singing aloud the song that has become my anthem – The Garden Song, written by Dave Mallett and performed by various artists over the past forty years. I learned it from Pete Seeger, who performs it in the above link. I sang it over and over this morning as I took a relaxed hour of walking on one of my favorite trails and reflected on the meaning it has taken on for me.
Inch by inch, row by row, going to make my garden grow. Going to mulch it deep and low, make a piece of fertile ground. Inch by inch, row by row, Someone bless these seeds I sow. Someone warm them from below ’till the rain comes tumblin’ down.
The primary garden I am planting and nurturing is my inner garden. The deep mulching is going on within the neural pathways of my brain, preparing that long dormant network for the cultivation of a new way of living. In a good Taoist way, I look to, “Someone,” for help rather than naming the Divine, thus limiting Its work.
Pulling weeds and picking stones, we are made of dreams and bones. Feel the need to grow my own ’cause the time is close at hand. Grain for grain, sun and rain, find your way in nature’s chain, tune my body and my brain to the music from the land.
Weeds and stones abound – fears, habits, outworn beliefs, doubts, assumptions, and cultural edifices all have inhibited natural growth to the point of near barrenness. But the “time is close at hand” – personally and globally there is very little time left to plant and grow a new vision for a new Earth. I ask that the natural flow of the Tao will re-tune me, body and soul, to the “music from the land.”
Plant your rows, straight and long. Temper them with prayer and song. Mother Earth will keep you strong, if you give her love and care. Old crow watching hungrily, from his perch in yonder tree, in my garden I’m as free as that feathered thief up there.
I seek and trust a new relationship with the Earth – actually not so much a relationship, for that implies a degree of separation – but a new sense of being a part of the Whole Earth, playing my role as a human being in an appropriate manner. This is where my strength truly resides. The old crow might be my conditioned mind, waiting to steal new seeds that threaten “the way I’ve always done it.” But that feathered thief is not going to rob me of my freedom and joy.
Inch by inch, row by row, going to make my garden grow. Going to mulch it deep and low, make a piece of fertile fertile ground. Inch by inch, row by row, Someone bless these seeds I sow. Someone warm them from below ’till the rain comes tumblin’ down.
Inch by inch.
Can’t grow a new garden with the old seeds.
Inch by inch.