Gardening is one of the things I most enjoy in this life. Whether it's outside or inside, I garden all year around.
Gardening gives me time to be alone with my thoughts, to think about all kinds of things, especially things that trouble me.
Take anger and frustration for instance. There's nothing better, for me, to alleviate anger and frustration than pulling weeds and trimming flowers. And believe me, there are plenty of them in the garden. The above picture is just today's take.
I think about Palestine and Israel - a lot.
I am a Muslim who has a Christian mother and a Jewish father. My heart and soul are anchored in Israel/Palestine (I/P) which is an important piece of real estate to all three faith groups.
I care about what happens there.
I think often of Palestinian farmers. I see pictures of Palestinian farmers waiting in long lines to pass through check points to get into their fields. Sometimes they are not let through. Or they are held in a series of check point lines by IDF for so long that their perishable produce wilts. Gardening and working a field are acts of immediacy. If you don't understand what I mean, get a bunch of stuff for a salad out and let it sit on your kitchen counter for an afternoon and you'll see what I mean. Or, if you have a garden, don't go out there for a few days, and see how the weeds overgrow everything. You saw the picture of my day's take of weeds. My garden is about the length of two and a half double-car garages. Imagine an entire field.
Palestinian farmers depend a lot on wells to irrigate their fields. Israel has diverted much of the water in the Occupied Territories for use by the Israeli people. Yes, the Palestinians are allocated water by Israel, but it is not enough. Some Palestinian farmers dig "illegal" wells and when they are discovered, the IDF comes and destroys them. Likewise, it is illegal for Palestinian farmers to even collect rain water. When discovered, the IDF blows up the cisterns.
Sometimes I try to clear my mind while in the garden. I try to focus on the glory of Allaah t'ala creation. Just look at this for an example:
In the following weeks, this dainty yellow blossom will become a cucumber! Subhan'Allaah!
I think about other farmers and farm workers too.
As I was gardening this morning, I was thinking about the meaning of the word "wetback," a slander term often used to refer to Mexican and other Hispanic farm workers. They are out in the fields in California, the Southwest USA, and other agricultural areas of America for very long hours. I can't even start to imagine how much they sweat doing this work so the people of America can have produce on their plates.
Why was I thinking about this? Well, as I move through the rows of my garden, weeding, or pulling radishes and other stuff, I sweat like crazy. I mean it drips off of me.
I guess that makes me a wetback too!
At harvest time, I give my neighbors bags of vegetables!
When I come in from the garden, I have a smoothie.
I use soy milk with vanilla flavor, two dates, one prune, my garden mint, and whatever fruit I have. Currently, I am using organic blueberries from the store, and my own strawberries:
I hate to sound like an advertisement for something, but these prunes shown below are soooo excellent! I have 62 years old and have NEVER found a prune I like until now. They taste so good! Plus, they are individually wrapped. They have a better shelf life this way, and they are easy to carry. They are soft as butter. You can put them in your family's lunches or carry them in your purse or pocket for a healthy snack. Plus, I read online that prunes are very valuable for those tying to lose weight or maintain healthy weight.