Find Peace in the Garden

November 13, 2016 | By | Comments (6)
sugar maple phixr Find Peace in the Garden

Sugar maples in the country. The view is free. Photo: Steve Bender

Welcome to the Grumpy Gardener, quite possibly the only website on the internet where we’re not going to talk about the recent election. Grumpy knows many of you are angry, upset, sleepless, fearful, and stressed out. Let me offer one simple suggestion guaranteed to make you feel better. Turn off the TV, click off Facebook (after you finish reading this, of course!), walk outside, and experience the magic of nature.

As I write this, I’m sitting on our screened porch in the back yard. It’s my favorite room in the house. It’s one story above the ground and looks out on the woods. From it, I feel the cool, silky breeze of fall. I hear chickadees chattering, the cardinal’s chirp, and the skittering of chipmunks hunting acorns among the oak leaves. Although our record drought (56 consecutive rainless days and counting) has dulled the luster of autumn foliage this year, the coral bark maples still shine their characteristic soft, pink-tinged yellow, the black gum wears a scarlet cloak, and the season’s first sasanqua bloom has opened. Nature engulfs me and quiets my mind.

Today, the most common response to anxiety is to take a pill. It’s so easy. But it’s just as easy to walk outside either alone or with others and let nature be the pill. Studies show that regularly immersing yourself in the natural world is the best tonic in your medicine cabinet. It reduces blood pressure and lowers the level of stress hormones in your body. When I’m in the garden or walking in the woods, the burdens of the world lift from my shoulders. It feels good. Really good.

blue marble Find Peace in the Garden

The wondrous “blue marble” called Earth. Photo: NASA

We live on the most amazing and beautiful planet in the galaxy — the only one we know of at this moment capable of sustaining human life. And with that gift, we get everything else — the daffodils, the dolphins, the kangaroos, the penguins, the blue skies, the sunsets, the oceans, the jungles, the mountains, the prairies, the running of the salmon, and the migration of the monarchs. We pay for none of it. We are rich beyond belief.

Today or tomorrow or next week if you can, do yourself a tremendous favor. Get outside. See, hear, touch, smell, and (if safe!) taste the bounty of the “blue marble.” Rake some leaves. Pick a flower. Plant a bulb. Go on a hike. Listen to tap of a distant woodpecker.

But do not be grumpy. That’s my job.


  1. Craig E. Walker

    Just saw this ~ Thank You !

    February 8, 2017 at 12:45 pm
  2. Dora

    Enjoy it while it is still here. Remember it so you can tell your grandchildren what used to be.

    November 14, 2016 at 6:43 pm
  3. brenda treants

    Thanks so much for sharing this site, lovely pictures and information that we can use!!!

    November 14, 2016 at 1:45 pm
  4. Kathleen

    Actually, some readers are feeling very much relieved and at peace after the election results.

    November 14, 2016 at 11:00 am
  5. Brynn

    Thank you for this post!

    Most of our trees “noped” out of fall colors, but our valiant generic maple did its best (our two Japanese maples still think it’s summer and refuse to turn, despite it being in the 30s at night already), and some small unidentified (it’s surrounded by poison ivy I didn’t get out this summer) tree in the way back turned sunshine yellow. The camellia is loaded with buds for spring, always a sight to look forward to. And the last of the impatiens and zinnias are still soldiering on, despite being frost-nipped.
    We also had a tiny drizzle of rain yesterday morning and last night. Not even a quarter of an inch total, but it was still a wonderful thing to see. Doesn’t help our drought any, but helps our spirits!

    November 14, 2016 at 9:09 am
  6. J. Duplantier

    What a wonderful post, much needed and appreciated.

    November 13, 2016 at 11:04 pm

Leave a Comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s