When I emailed my older brother, Rick, that I was thinking of commenting, gently and caringly, about these disturbing times in this issue’s “At The Gate,” he wrote back:
Pat, I don’t think you should do that. The garden is a retreat, a sanctuary as you say. Much better to talk about that. About how wonderful it is, even in these times of distress and disease, that one can escape to one’s garden, be free from these cares and concerns, and renew oneself in the presence of nature, working with what is so beautiful and fruitful. And how pleasing it is for you to imagine that you could share this experience with your readers were they to show up in your backyard and pick up a spade.
We are so blessed to love gardens, and really, when one thinks about it, every human is blessed with the garden of this Earth, whether they know it or not. We are after all the only planet we know about where life exists. Earth is the garden of the universe. Voltaire ended Candide with the advice “Tend one’s garden” as the best thing one could do in the troubled world of his times. We who love gardening are fortunate to know what he means: tending a garden helps us tend the other parts of our life, our family, our friends, our community, and our selves.
And it’s at times like now when I think how lucky we all are to have this magazine, a place where we can share the experience of loving gardening and all it does for us and others.
So, Pat, for editorial, economic, and exhortative reasons, I think you should avoid stepping out of the garden, but rather bring people into it. Remind them how the garden frees them to be, at least while they are there, the people God intended us to be when he put Adam and Eve in Paradise.
Bless you, Big Brother. And bless you, Dear Readers,
Pat Stone, Editor