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Grassroots Garden: Roots and Latches

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Grassroots Garden, the first day.

Anna Hall, communication specialist with the Jekyll Island Authority, recently procured a plot at the Jekyll Island Community Garden. She, along with her husband and parents, will tend the land, trying to reconnect with  nature- and each other. The Grassroots Garden blog with track their progress. Read along with their dirt-filled adventure.

Roots and latches.

After work the next day- I’m one of those lucky ones; I work on Jekyll Island, as communication specialist with the Authority- I made my way back to the garden plot, excited to get started clearing away all the weeds. And secretly hoping there might be more cabbage just waiting for me.

There wasn’t. But there was plenty of work, as well as my dad, waiting there for me. Dad had been pulling and tugging at the overgrowth for a few hours, and was seriously sweaty from the hot, late afternoon sun.

“You won’t think it’d be so hot at 4 o’clock in mid-April, would ya?” he asked, as if he hadn’t lived in the South pretty much all his life.

I shrugged. “It’s south Georgia.” (Later, I felt his pain, and had severe sympathy for him, as he was out when the sun was even hotter.)

Dad took me around the garden, showing me where the compost pile was, where supplies where, how to turn on water. Then, he handed me the rake and gloves, and said good luck. It was my turn to start pulling up those weeds.

As he walked back to his car, Dad yelled over his shoulder: “Hey Anna, don’t forget the roots,” he shouted. “And latch the gate when you leave.”

Good tips.

At first, I used the rake. But shortly realized I’m not as strong as I thought and actually getting into the dirt might be a better way to go. For the next hour, I crawled around that sandy dirt plot, yanking up weeds. The sun beat down, I started sweating, started feeling the sand jab my knees and felt my back slowly start to ache from bending for so long. How did farmers do this day in and day out? This was, indeed, real work.

Not that I minded. In fact, it was refreshing, getting all dirty, being alone out in the middle of this great Island, pulling up roots and weeds and reflecting on the day.

As the time ticked away, I started to get deeper into the game and even deeper into my own thoughts. Grabbing a massive root and jerking it from the earth, I was struck with my father’s earlier words. Don’t forget the roots.

This whole venture I was entering into with my family- my parents and husband, who would all share in these gardening duties and have a stake in its success- it was more than an opportunity to grow my own vegetables and save money at the grocery store. It was more than an activity to simply fill time and give me a new hobby. This journey of gardening was about remembering my roots, appreciating the family I have been born into, the family I have married into, and the life I am creating for myself. It’s easy to ignore roots, but eventually, they sprout. The roots, they matter. They build the foundation for more.

Don’t forget your roots.

Or to latch the gate when you leave.

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