<1. to prepare and work on (land) in order to raise crops; till.  2. to use a cultivator on.  3. to promote or improve the growth of (a plant or crop) by labor and attention.  4. to produce by culture.>IMG_3988A garden holds many lessons for the farmer or gardener. And many mysteries, too. There are all of the obvious tasks that fall in the lap of the gardener… there’s the soil preparation, composting, and seed planting. There’s the hope of timely rains and limited insect pressure. There’s the dream of order and abundance; of bountiful harvests and delicious meals. And then, there are the challenges that the gardener must face; the reality of what it takes to raise a garden. There’s the summer heat, and the mocking insects. There are dry spells and floods. There’s wildlife with insatiable appetites. There’s the feeling of days that are too long, but also not long enough to tend all that needs tending. And then… there are the weeds. The weeds that can grow beautifully under any circumstances. The weeds that can mine water and fertility from the gardener’s precious crops. Weeds that bite, strangle, swallow, and devour. One of the biggest and most consistent of all challenges facing the gardener or farmer, weeds are what bring the act (and art) of cultivation into the bigger picture. As a farmer, lots of time will be spent on the mighty task of cultivation. And often, during these times of laboring for the sake of the plants, the mind is free to drift in a sea of thoughts. In these moments of rhythmic body motion, the farmer begins to not only cultivate the plants, but to also cultivate the human that is wielding the hoe.

<5. to develop or improve by education or training.> IMG_3839<6. to promote the growth or development of (an art, science, etc.).  7. to devote oneself to (an art, science, etc.).> IMG_3970<8. to seek to promote or foster (friendship, love, etc.).>IMG_3979<9. to seek the acquaintance or friendship of (a person).>IMG_3934As a mother and wife, the work of cultivating weaves itself into my daily life far beyond the bounds of the garden fence. The work is constant, but so satisfying and beautiful. I cultivate my marriage. I cultivate my family. I help my children cultivate their interests. I cultivate my own interests and learning. And, yes, I cultivate a garden…

***thanks to Random House Kernerman Webster’s College Dictionary for this definition of the word cultivate used throughout this post.

2 thoughts on “cultivate

  1. Cher, this post really inspired me this morning! I absolutely ADORE the photo of you with your daughter on your back, and the one of your daughter hugging the lamb. Plus, the words ring so true–that we need to cultivate not only our gardens but our families, our marriage, our interests. I shared it on my Joyfully Green Facebook page and tweeted it out, too! Thanks so much for your gorgeous and thoughtful words and images today!

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