Grow Through It

For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

a time to be born, and a time to die;
a time to plant, a time to pluck up what is planted;
a time to kill, and a time to heal;
a time to break down, and a time to build up;
a time to weep, and a time to laugh;
a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;
a time to get, and a time to lose;
a time to keep, and a time to cast away;
a time to tear, and a time to sow;
a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
a time to love, and a time to hate;
a time of war, and a time of peace.

-Ecclesiastes 3

One of the best parts of fall is having something to blame depression on. During the summer it’s the worst, you have no excuse for feeling bad. There’s almost 20 hours of sunlight a day and the weather’s terrific. This means guilt and even more depression. Not so with autumn. As the leaves fall, it’s our duty to feel depressed; it’s a time to reflect on the past year, the passing years, and the melancholy truth that everything green loses its color. It’s great.

When I’m depressed it’s really hard to do anything. Or maybe, when I can’t do anything I become depressed. Either way, depression’s marked by dormancy. One of the best remedies I had this summer was my garden. I have a 4’x8′ plot in a community garden across the street from my apartment, where I grow herbs. On afternoons when I didn’t know what to do with myself, when idea after idea proposed to myself was shot down by myself, when I despaired that the end of day was coming and I was doing nothing worthwhile, I would realize that my plants could use watering, and do that.



It helped. It’s hard to be depressed when you’re taking care of something. Especially when that something grows before your eyes, is unable to criticize you, and tastes delicious. My herbs, though, were really taking care of me. They didn’t need to be pruned, weeded, and watered that often. They’d be fine left alone. But by doing these things I occupied myself for about thirty minutes, just long enough to snap out of my funk and make use of the rest of my day, my beautiful summer day.

The other sweet thing about having a plot at a community garden is the people walking past. My neighbors remember the property used to be vacant land filled with hunks of broken brick, glass, and abandoned appliances. Now it’s neatly lined with three dozen garden plots just like mine. When they see you bending over eating a sprig of basil they smile because the entire scene is different than the dilapidated norm and you smile back and you say Hi to each other; they ask what you’re growing and you give them a piece of basil to munch on too, and now you’re not alone in your over-heated apartment over-thinking life, but outside interacting with other people and the depression’s gone— for today. But that’s all that matters.

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