Hi Root Cellar Community.
Last Saturday was world naked gardening day. Did you show some skin? You might read that and laugh, but I was raised by a
real-life-naked-gardener. You can laugh now, but if you’re cringing,
I’m not sure we can be friends.
We lived rurally, a few miles up a mountain in a tiny, tiny town in
the Kootenays. Where I couldn’t (wouldn’t) bring a friend home after
school if it wasn’t pre arranged, because my mom might be out there,
naked gardening. Sorry, ‘getting her Vitamin D’, I mean….
Even if it was pre-arranged for me to bring home a guest, it was a bit
of a crap-shoot, because she may have lost track of time pruning the
raspberries (NAKED, in case your imagination isn’t with me yet), and
failed to throw on her sarong before the school bus lumbered up. There was a parting in the trees where I could glimpse our large garden before the bus came to a stop. If my eye caught mom’s flesh amongst the pole beans, I would be sure to talk VERY loudly as I walked up the long winding driveway, whilst simultaneously preparing how I would explain her, if she didn’t hear our approach and cover up in time…
‘Sorry, my mom’s crazy’ was just a lie, and was cruel. But ‘sorry my mom thinks our bodies are beautiful and values the energy of the sun’, was certain to send my peers running. So what’s a girl to do? I chose the easy way out of this scary, scary situation for a 12 year old girl. I chose better friends. Friends who are still dear to me today.
My mom may have been naked far more than I preferred, but her nakedness forced my values into plain sight at a young age. Integrity was the fibre of my childhood. There was never any question about not following your heart. Not that I didn’t get it wrong sometimes as I learned.
Fluencies in empathy, in gratitude, in following your instincts: These
were the lessons I learned with my hands in the soil beside my naked
mother as we relocated earthworms, companion planted, turned the
compost, and rescued the occasional deer or bear; along with a strong
dose of humility.
My mom is also an artist, yes, occasionally a naked-artist. I grew up
with a work of her art on the back of my bedroom door that said ‘I
love and appreciate my body just the way it is.’ In beautiful script,
in case you’ve ever wondered where I picked that up, along with my
appreciation for where our food comes from, and who grew it (I just
prefer to keep my clothes ON). While I was still learning how to
choose the people in my life, I would sometimes hang clothes over this
work of art, rather than have to explain it.
As an adult, one of the best compliments I’ve ever received is ‘wow,
your life is full of such amazing people.’ I don’t willfully curate my
friends, or my work family, but I find myself surrounded by people who lift me up, who bring the sunshine, and who ‘get me’ and where I came from, even if it makes them a bit uncomfortable, being human after all.
I find myself so grateful during this past year of pandemic for this
calibre of companionship in my life. When we can’t seek adventure or distraction, and are forced to appreciate what and who are nearest to us; I feel completely satisfied. And I wonder if this would be the case, if my mom wasn’t naked so much.
So it may have taken me 42 years, but Thank You Momma.
Happy Mother’s Day. You are a masterpiece.