Amid COVID-19 closures, loss of community gardens hurts
Luscher Farm may not open until (maybe) April 13. I am so sorry for you, Community Gardeners. I understand the reason is that you would have to drive there and for now, non-essential driving is being discouraged.
But Gardener to Gardener, I am sorry.
Fruit and vegetable gardening can be for food, yes. It is also exercise. Most importantly it can be a strategy to "sublimate one's passions," i.e. to create art out of stress and suffering. Lincoln coped by words, crafting not more than about 100 speeches in his life time. Playing or writing music and baking bread fits here. If you saw my garden at home, it would be immediately evident that is where I do all kinds of my work.
If we focus only on food insecurity as an impact of being unable to go to Luscher farm right now, we miss a major urgency to gardening. Houseplants can be an outlet. Container gardening in urban areas has always been a "thing." There is also starting plants from seeds which can then be transplanted when Luscher reopens. The alternatives are OK but not real substitutes. It is necessary for me to get my hands in the dirt. I suspect it's why you garden, too.
Finally, in my opinion, personal health conditions have no real relevance to gardening or the garden. If I knew I was to die today, I'm sure I would take a long walk around my garden — to observe what was thriving, what looked like the slugs were crushing on, what the deer were destroying, and on. You get my point. Even Mike, who hates gardening, and only sees infrastructure where I see growing things, has taken to weeding paths and putting down gravel. (This you should take as a sign of acute tennis withdrawal!) And the truth is both — beauty and order — together, are what make the garden elegant and productive, confined and wild. Here we find solitude. We find Love.
May all gardens yet flourish this year. May you and all remain safe and healthy?.
Theresa Kohlhoff is a Lake Oswego city councilor and mayoral candidate.
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