Gardens hold more than dirt and plants. They hold power. They heal.

Gardens foster community and relationships and awaken the senses while they provide hope and teach patience and fortitude.

Gardens contribute to our quality of life whether we're working in them or sitting back and taking them in.

Here we will dig deep and expose what all gardens hold, teach and reveal.

House Arrest

by Heather Ford-Helgeson

The innocent
sentenced to
House arrest.
Mercury refuses to rise.
Sun peaks, even fully exposes herself,
But she mocks
(as she beckons)
Powerless against polar winds.

What to do but walk paces?
Be grateful for heated spaces.

Learning To Brave the Cold, Snowshoer Style

by Heather Ford-Helgeson

Winter's playing hide-n-seek with us here in Minnesota. One day it's 21 for the high the next it's 50. We're accustom to it but we feign offense because it makes for good complaining 'round the water cooler. Admit it or not, Mother Nature's inconsistency is part of why we live here. Weather is a game and we all like to volley guesses at any given day's highs and lows and when the snow will dump. However, we all know the inevitable outcome: cold with a chance of freezing our booties off.

Yes, winter will hit us with its subzero ferocity and we're readying for it. Stuffing carbs, cheese and meat as if its our civic duty, curling up on the couch with the lights low and the t.v. on by seven, going to bed to "read" by nine and sleeping 10 hours or more. We are Vikings to be sure, but we are also bears and we know how to hibernate.

For the approximately 18th year I am telling myself this winter, THIS WINTER, I will take up an outdoor activity. I will get out into the elements, no matter how earth shattering cold, and movemovemove. I am pushing hard this time and think I'll succeed.

Late last winter I tried show shoeing with a friend on a lake and it was exhilarating. In full disclosure here, the first 20 minutes almost killed me, but once I got used to my heart beating above 80 bpm and acclimated to the cold, I looked up and out and over the lake and it was awesome, as in awe-inspiring. Snow, sun, blue sky and the only sounds were our labored breath and the shoes through the snow.

Perhaps snowshoeing will be a form of mediation for me throughout this winter. I'm looking forward to finding out.

In this land of skiers and skateboarders, skaters and hockey players, I will snowshoe...but I'm still going to bed by 9pm.

What winter activity do you do that gets you out into the elements?

Natural Progression

by Heather Ford-Helgeson

Dawn crawls up in vivid pink and orange
Cool winds hold gusts of winter snap
Green gives way to red and yellow
Leaves play tag as they fall and blow.

School lends to quiet neighborhood afternoons
The sun tires faster, heading to bed early
Naked branches bend shyly in search of cover
The burning bush blushes bright as a young lover.

Frost spreads from tree tips to grass
Perennials brown and die back to rest
Sounds deepen and amplify as the temperature drops
The honking of geese incessant, lessens, stops.

Footsteps crackle and leave trails
Breath clouds, mingles and rises
Mother natures blows a cold kiss
A hush envelopes as snow falls, gathers and drifts.