Beyond the fruits of our labor
In a world so busy that we rush here and there, we just simply just don’t stop to observe what surrounds us. This beautiful land was once honored and revered by the Native Americans who had lived here for hundreds of years. What a gem of a place is Englewood, safely nuzzled on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico. Does it ever cross our minds how the native people once lived and why they lived here? They didn’t leave much of thumbprint behind, but they did leave some beautiful mounds. It makes us wonder about their way of life. Their language was spoken, and they referred to all life on Earth as beings. What is left of their native tongue are words like puhpowee, referring to the growth of the stalk of a mushroom pushing through the soil and rising to the sun. It magically can also refer other shafts that rise mysteriously in the night. The reference to a body of water, speaks of the Bay as a being, “To be like the Bay;” “To be like a tree,” begs questions we don’t usually ask. It beckons our minds to wonder what that is like. Such reverence to nature for all the inhabitants that grow and are nurtured in and around the Bay, relate to a mother feeding her children.
Now that life has slowed for most of us, we can go outside and see our gardens in a different light. We can walk around and wonder what it might be like if we were a tree? We can look at those caterpillars growing, nourished by the milkweed they consume and then morphing into butterflies. In the early morning we can walk silently and barefooted across the land and give thanks to all the life that springs forth. In silence, see the animals you come across. How many birds are there? Listen to their songs. Notice all of the new growth each day, and the life that is thriving in the heat of summer, awaiting the summer rains.
On our three-year-old permaculture farm, giant fruits dangle from the jackfruit trees precariously on little branches near the main trunk. These jackfruits were grown from seed four years ago, now towering 30 feet high. Tiny sugar apples bulge larger and larger every day; their dangling fruits look as if the fairies dripped green sand in perfect layers on tiny stems. Starfruit bares another massive flush of new fruits for the 3rd time this year. It loves all the mulch and delicious natural fertilizers and microorganisms it has been given. Passion fruit is wildly driven higher and higher into the treetops, vanilla clings so lovingly to the oak bark, banana trees drop yet another juicy flower attracting tons of local bees, heirloom Seminole pumpkins run all over the ground exploding with new babies and plunging down new roots on aerial growth, confusing us to where its mother has grown from. In just short three years our plants are fruiting daily and buzzing with new growth. The chaste tree, a medicinal plant for women, is fully fruiting its berries for a second time in two years. It has flourished from a good chopping in the fall. Pineapple tops are bulging with new pineapples bending over as they become to heavy for its store bought old top.
The mornings here are singing as the bees are all over the native porter weeds, Spanish needle flowers, tropical sage, turkey tail frog fruit (fabulous ground cover instead of grass), blanket flowers, fire spike, partridge pea and beach sunflowers. I found that leaving the Spanish needles was necessary not only to give the bees extra food, but also it is a remedy for those nasty fire ant bites we all seem to get regularly. Crush the leaves and rub them on the sting and goodbye pain. There is so much you can grow here in our special zone. Cover the ground with longevity Spinach, its healing properties are in the name it serves. Varigated oregano and Cuba with its succulent thick leaves are easy for anyone to grow. The chaya is casting tons of flowers this year attracting all kinds of butterflies. Beautiful native plants like tropical sage, tickseed, edible ferns, goldenrod, desert cassia, coontis and milkweed are thriving. Some just magically show up and we allow them to grow and observe them. We enjoy the fruits of our labor. Simple things like a walk in the garden can take the blues away. As the Native Americans say after all their thanksgiving prayers, “Now our minds are one,” connecting to the world as one, and so we are all in this together, worldwide as one.
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