Monday, December 22, 2014

Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning: Nature Deficit Disorder

A client, late 40's, lived in a gated community of very-nice-homes, had a lake house too, and traveled the globe for pleasure.
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Her husband thriving in his job, her children matriculating successfully through education & life.
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All in good health.
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Yet, something in her spirit was not fed.  A major narrative not written, and she knew it.  Worse, she felt it.
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Unhappiness, one of life's greatest teachers, gave her intuitive listening and action skills.  Lake house needed to be sold and the gated community had to be left.
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Farm house, acreage, woodlands, meadows, barns, spoke, and bought.  Immediately, heirloom livestock, and pre-industrial methods of land management emanated from spirals deep within her DNA.
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They were there, abiding, always.  Contemporaneously, her intuitive sense of abiding became a tidal wave of choice,    
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From childhood, Nature, spoke to my spirit, of course I thought it spoke to everyone.  Wrong.  Unhappiness came earlier to me, than my client, above, infertility, loss of family, alcoholic spouse, youthful expectations that I needed to please those close to me, yet hearing/feeling the need for atonement.     
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I began to create a garden.
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Atonement found.
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Miss Abiding & Miss Atonement have learned more together, than ever they could individually.  Detect the Jane Austen quality of this particular section of narrative?
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Strong matriarchal women, we find laughter in this ironic gift from Providence.
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Where is this going?  Where are you in this?
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Your DNA was formed in combination with Nature too.
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Science is catching up to what too few have found due to unhappiness.  
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How the mind processes information in Nature vs. man made culture is profound.  
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Regions of the brain working on your life/work issues in silent thought while you think of other things are different depending upon if you are walking in Nature or a city.  Science.
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Light, for an easy, and odd, example.  Did you know reading a book by Nature's light is processed in one brain region, and reading a computer screen without Nature's light is processed in a different region of the brain?  Which region do you trust most with your memories?  Not hypothetical, pure science.
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Real estate costs more at the shore of lakes, rivers, oceans.  Why?  Chemistry.  Your body is mostly water and when it is near large bodies of water the ions in the water molecules start pulling pleasantly towards each other.  Science.
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Children raised on farms acquire gut bacteria preventing them  having more health issues than those raised in suburbs or cities.  If children live on farms to about age 10 those good health effects are life long.  Science.
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A science study put a control group of people to walk in a city, another, to walk in the woods.  White blood cell counts, which help fight infection, were statistically higher for those waking in the woods.  Scientific conclusion?  Plants must be emitting a wavelength we absorb thru the skin.  



Take Two Hikes and Call me in the Morning, recently in Digg, mentions Nature Deficit Disorder, 


Learned Helplessness, is a horrible inheritance from one generation to another.  Worse, you don't know you have it.  Until epiphany.  Betty Friedan wrote of what she 'saw', The Feminine Mystique, but I'm a child of one those women and living the results.  My strangest epiphany came with having chickens.  Never been around chickens, until I had clients with chickens.  Decades of gardening, personally/professionally, did not prepare me for what my chickens taught.
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Until the chickens my gardening was for pleasure.  My chickens arrived less than a week old, it didn't take long for them to be old enough for their chinoiserie style coop/run.  Once in their coop, my gardening was forever changed, from amusement, to stewardship.
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How could I know settling for amusement was paltry?  Stewardship, rich.
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My grandmother could run a farm, raise livestock, harvest, kill, preserve, cook, sew.  While being active in her church and civic duties.  She received a 4 year nursing degree, did graduate work in New York and settled into Augusta, GA for her full time job at a hospital as head nurse.  She was the last of USA's agrarian culture.  Without which learned helplessness creeps.
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Washington Post, review of,

Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generation, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation

           " In this lively and deeply researched history, Andrea Wulf (best known for her prize-winning chronicle of 18th-century English gardening, “The Brother Gardeners”) examines the botanical pursuits of America’s first four presidents. Those men were, it turns out, obsessive gardeners, but gardening was much more than a preoccupying hobby. It was central to their vision of the American republic. Jefferson and Co. believed that the agrarian life would safeguard the new republic’s virtue and that the future of America lay with the independent farmer. As Washington summed up, “Our welfare and prosperity depend upon the cultivation of our lands.”
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Selfishly, I wish Andrea Wulf would write about Abigail Adams.  She, and her husband had no slaves.  She was alone much of her marriage and farmed the land, successfully, while raising a family, many years as a single woman, and political adviser to her husband.


Notice the scale, below.  Often I design this intimacy in landscapes.


From, Take Two Hikes and Call Me in the Morning, "Natural spaces, on the other hand, engage our “involuntary attention.” On a hiking trail your attention flits to different spots like the birds flying by—to the tree bark, the blue sky, the leaves on the ground. Paying attention to these sights requires little effort on our part, making it less demanding, and providing a break for our minds. The respite seems to be part of why we find nature relaxing. Indulging our involuntary attention is in fact one of the best ways to treat attention fatigue."  
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 Working with Nature, for decades, I know to trust Providence.  Need to find a solution to work, family, life, health choices/issues?  I form the question, in detail, within my mind, go into my garden or walk around Stone Mountain, for an hour, totally letting go of the question.  At the end of my time with Nature, there is an answer to the question.  Most often, it's an action step answer.  Sometimes, the answer is, take-more-time-in-Nature.  
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The last fact is scary to some.  When I don't take time for the right choices, it becomes lizard brain thinking.  Years of support group therapy for those with family/friends who are alcoholic, gave me valuable insights.  First, 'Don't force a solution.'  Aka, don't make choices based on fear.


Have you already 'seen' my joy at playing with the words, 'Nature', and, 'Science'?


Don't care about the science or Nature?
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Easy answer, in Nature's favor.
Money.
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Created properly your landscape can shade your home in summer, reduce cold winter winds, and let the sun help heat your home in winter.  Maintenance issues can be reduced from weekly to monthly, even bi-monthly.  A proper landscape, and soil preparation, needs no fertilizer or chemicals, and little to no watering once established.  Instead of ornamental trees, fruit trees add to grocery savings, and health.  Well landscaped homes sell faster, and for more money.  
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I use Nature as George Washington, John Adams......  What other choice?  The Big Box garden center?  The neighborhood Home Owner's Assoc?  Monsanto?  Even the Extension Service is agriculturally complicit with industrial farming.  Accepting success by the ton & dollars made.  Not  families making a livelihood and their communities built and thriving upon them.  Wendell Berry, (“True solitude is found in the wild places, where one is without human obligation. One’s inner voices become audible… In consequence, one responds more clearly to other lives.”),writes about farming for the success of your soul, the land, people, cities, & country, in great wisdom, for decades.  
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Garden & Be Well,     XO Tara
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Wendell Berry,   "Works of pride, by self-called creators, with their premium on originality, reduce the Creation to novelty — the faint surprises of minds incapable of wonder.
Pursuing originality, the would-be creator works alone. In loneliness one assumes a responsibility for oneself that one cannot fulfill.
Novelty is a new kind of loneliness.

Wendell Berry (Photograph: Guy Mendes)
There is the bad work of pride. There is also the bad work of despair — done poorly out of the failure of hope or vision.
Despair is the too-little of responsibility, as pride is the too-much.
The shoddy work of despair, the pointless work of pride, equally betray Creation. They are wastes of life.
For despair there is no forgiveness, and for pride none. Who in loneliness can forgive?
Good work finds the way between pride and despair.
It graces with health. It heals with grace.
It preserves the given so that it remains a gift.
By it, we lose loneliness:
we clasp the hands of those who go before us, and the hands of those who come after us;
we enter the little circle of each other’s arms,
and the larger circle of lovers whose hands are joined in a dance,
and the larger circle of all creatures, passing in and out of life, who move also in a dance, to a music so subtle and vast that no ear hears it except in fragments."
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 To attain knowledge add things every day.
To attain wisdom subtract things every day.
— Lau Tzo.
All pics, Pinterest.  If you aren't doing Pinterest, please consider it.  If you are reading this I KNOW what you curate on Pinterest boards will teach & inspire me greatly.

 For a beautiful garden & home filling you with joy, become my client, local/on-line.
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Books by Tara Dillard, Amazon
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Tara Dillard & Associates Design: farm to city pied-a-terre.
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Construction by Award Winning
Shaefer Heard Construction, licensed home-builder, renovation - new construction.  Heard's Landscaping a unit of SHC.  3 decades of service.


NOTE to my gardening friends... look for changes to come. 
Knew before computers/cell phones, sitting in Atlanta traffic on way to a client, 'I must reach a larger audience with the same amount of effort.'   Soon after that epiphany I signed my CBS-TV, and, books contracts on the same day.
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Then I read an article in the NYTimes about something called 'blogging'.  Saved the article for a year before reading it.  Studied all the blogs they mentioned, hired a computer expert they quoted, and attended a blogging seminar.
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Blogging 2.0 has arrived, my knowledge is 1.0.  A believer in copying the best historic gardens across the globe it flows into every arena of life.  Watching Maria Killam grow her career/blog/life over the past 3 years made its impact.  Signed up  for a year's course with her blogging expert, Jon Morrow
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Changes will be slow, plodding is my adored method.  Pulling triggers here/there is spice in the mix.
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What do YOU want?
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Nothing is too small, too big, or too ego crushing to mention.
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Passion lies in sharing what has filled me to the depths of grace, joy & atonement, the best landscapes created over the last 2,000+ years.

Just so you know... 

 I  welcome your input.

6 comments:

mignonnie said...

Well, I guess no garden you have, according to me, that demands attention like me, like I think to others, for no one pays attention to what I think, where you do as if you know what attention is to no one who has a garden like you do, according to you, where you have no garden, like I think, for you DO gardens, to think gardens to be done the old way, like indians do, like me as you think, for indians think that has to grow what is in the earth, not beneath what you think is in the earth: God, for God is EVERYWHERE, not who you think where he is: in the earth where he is burried by others, to prevent that shall be seen what he IS: INNER! Where you think inner is outer, to think me as inner when I am garden to you: what must, where I MAY, grow in everyone's heart for I am love where they think hate for they don't know what love is, for they think it is obeying others who know what should...

Tara Dillard said...

mignonnie, as my dad would say, 'darling, I do not understand you.'

It is his side that gave me 2 great-great grandmother's, each 100% Cherokee Indian. My father was legal Native American minority status. He thought that was hilarious, learning it in his 60's.

anyway, could easily read more of your thoughts !! happily.

Barbara Pilcher said...

Really enjoyed this post. Garden and be well, indeed!

Isn't it crazy that we get on exercise machines to get "healthy," when all we need to do is tackle an outdoor chore every day.

Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I don't know where to start! Thanks for all the related thoughts, a must-re-read.

Late 40's and hard-working here like your client, but 180 degrees off on everything else. NDD - I think the distinction here is natural and built nature. Both are necessary, the last sounds like your client except woods / meadows. The latter can bring much joy if well-done, including it's care within one's time and abilities. But far better with the former, especially if they intimately relate.

Back to my soon-to-be patio containers this next week, hopefully.

I look forward to freeing up some day, and getting my Pinterest, LinkedIn, Houzz, etc on track. After I get my portfolio and website redo on track...

Thanks for this gift of a blog post!

Caio Fern said...

Fantastic post. Very touching. This is so true. Thank you for taking time ( and sensitivity ) to share this.

Maryanne The Garden said...

Love the Blog title!!!