I love to get my hands and feet in the dirt, but if it were not for mythology, folklore and fairy tales, I wonder if I would garden at all, at least with the kind of fanaticism and fantasy I apply to it. The Earth, it’s often said, is a garden, and gardening affirms that Nature is bountiful.
My garden is constructed of cultural memory, ancient to recent. Cultural memories – unearthed as cosmology, mythology, history, and personal experience – are every gardener’s lineage. It’s intriguing that we can each call on many worlds of gardens past and bring that much choice into our contemporary space, then make these ideas truly our own.
Cultural memory is quickly disappearing under the weight of television, shopping malls, and wanton destruction of Nature. Yet whether we realize it or not, each time we plant a seed, we are rebelling against materialism and the loss of Soul. We are preserving and nurturing patience and tolerance, honoring that which is truly divine – Nature. A little bit with every seed.
Jennifer Heath is a curator, award-winning journalist and activist, and the author or editor of nine books of fiction and non-fiction, including: Land of the Unconquerable: The Lives of Contemporary Afghan Women, co-edited with Ashraf Zahedi (University of California Press), The Veil: Women Writers on Its History, Lore, and Policis (University of California Press), Primal Picnics: Writers Invent Creation Myths for Their Favorite Foods (Whole World Press), The Scimitar and the Veil: Extraordinary Women of Islam (Paulist Press), and The Echoing Green: The Garden in Myth and Memory, including images by Boulder photographer, Valari Jack. Her national touring exhibitions include The Veil: Visible & Invisible Spaces and Black Velvet: The Art We Love to Hate. Her latest "locavore" exhibition, Resurrections: ECO-logy & ECO-nomy took place in 2010 at the Boulder Public Library.