By reaching back, sometimes we propel ourselves forward.

Pictures + Words by Mira Peck

My favorite part about gardening is watching the garden develop and change, like a long performance unfolding over time where instead of mere hours, the performance spans days and seasons, years and even lifetimes. 

The story contains drama and possibility to rival any opera: plagues of gypsy moths, late frosts, hurricanes, droughts. Epic battles waged with ruthless invasive plants, pests and diseases.

And the story lifts us up along the way, when the bare landscape of winter is finally replaced with fresh green shoots in spring, bringing us hope and beauty; summer brings exuberant energy with riots of color and buzzing life. Fall is the time when all that potential finally comes to fruition, the traditional harvest time, when we can take stock of our growing year. It’s the time to thank our past selves for planting so many beautiful seeds.

The story is the same in life: Where have we put our attention these past few seasons? Did we get stuck watering our weeds? Or were we daring enough to spend time cultivating our dreams and desires? 

What seeds have you been planting in your life that are finally coming up for sunlight?

For me, it’s dance. I used to think I could only be one thing in life. When I was 13, I went away to ballet school, hell bent on experiencing a big life onstage. Around 30, completely burnt out and craving connection with nature, I dropped dance and pursued horticulture. I studied at the New York Botanical Garden’s School of Professional Horticulture and proceeded to entirely change my career. I actually thought I was doing great, but without dance, I was wilting.

For the past year, dance has come into my life again; I’m dancing with a thriving community of friends and professionals, and teaching. I’m creating again, working on a dance film that features dancers in the landscape, outdoors in all four seasons. I feel like after a long season of dormancy, my artistic self is flowering again.

Everyone loves a good metamorphosis story, and the garden delivers. How is it possible that a lowly caterpillar can enter a chrysalis in one form, only to emerge later able to fly? How can a dull looking dahlia tuber produce the most vibrant and fanciful blooms you’ve ever seen?

Do you have dormant seeds you’re ready to start watering again? Your metamorphosis story is waiting even as mine is ready to launch.

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