The Secret Joys of Garden Work


When I was younger, the very mention of working in the backyard brought a sigh to my lips. It was always a mystery, however, why I always came back home feeling at peace and refreshingly fit, despite the aches in my physical muscles. I denied it, however, as it isn’t very ‘cool’ of an older teenager to enjoy working with dirt that contained worms and other creepy crawly things.

However, as of a couple of years, I’ve begun to wear gloves when getting my hands real dirty. (And all of a sudden, the garden is not such a scary place.)

I cut the grass today with my parents. I offered to do it despite my current mood.

You see, time and time again, I forget what draws me outside; all I recall is the tiredness in my body. Yet there’s always that secret joy I remember feeling, but cannot put into words, and when not put into words quick enough, soon fades from memory.

Well, I choose not to let that happen again. Here I am writing what a pleasure it is to push a big bulky machine across the lawn just to be able to smell the zesty smell of the grass. Here I am writing what a mercy it is to work under the sun while the wind strokes your face and misty patters of rain defiantly fall from the sky. Here I am writing what a thrilling surprise it is to come face to face with an animal you’ve never seen before staring at you- looked like something between a squirrel and a beaver, it seems, it didn’t open its mouth so I never saw the teeth. Here I am writing what a calming experience it is to simply BE there for my parents, working with them, even if it was merely to open a black garbage bag for the grass or grabbing the lawnmower out of my mother’s hands forcefully and requesting her to sit down for a moment. Here I am writing what an adventure it is to discover new tiny flowers you’d never have discovered walking on top of the grass, and only spot-able when you got down on your knees. Here I am writing what a wonder it is to feel all your mental weariness slide away as physical weariness took place. Here I am writing what a beautiful thing it is to simply observe what I see everyday, without really properly seeing. Here I am writing what a mystery it is in the magical green land called the garden, to find your thoughts moving from agitated worries to soothing reminders of God’s blessings.

There’s a saying that goes, “Remove the world from your heart, but keep it in your hands.” It’s the most bizarre thing, but I think for a few precious moments, while doing garden work, the world feels a little less heavy and my heart seems to sigh in relief.

Oh, the secret joys of garden work. Now I know why I keep offering to do something as dry as cutting the grass: to be at peace with nature, and with myself.

No, this was not the animal I saw. In the gardens of Paradise, inshaAllah, maybe. :)

No, this was not the animal I saw. In the gardens of Paradise, inshaAllah, maybe.

And God knows best.