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Which teacher helped you be who you are today? My life is different because of Renee Godard, a college professor who introduced to me to the science of ecology and biogeography. She sponsored my early naturalist training in the Kamana program, and did great mentor tricks like give me a dead raccoon in a bucket so I could assemble his skeleton. She has been a very, very beneficial influence.

I wrote to Renee this winter, sharing stories of the farm and thanking her for her mentoring over the years. I wrote that the farm gives me an embodied sense of the science of ecology, and allows ample room for the mystical and practical sides of me to flourish.

You can't tell me that a seed cracking open isn't magical. A bud bursting into bloom is jaw-dropping beautiful. You can explain about plant hormones and auxins and water pressure all you want. Those can all be true, and the process can still be magical. No human can make all the buds open. We're all still in the hands of the awesome power of sun and water.

With all my reverence and communing with nature, I also know the practicalities. The seeds won't jump out of the envelopes by themselves. The compost pile needs to be heaped just right. The hard-working farmily will come in hungry for lunch, and the floor will get muddy even if they take their boots off.

The more years I spend gardening, the more the practical and mystical lean towards each other. A sense of awe and mystery makes it easier to stay connected with my garden. Staying connected with my garden makes it easier to grow food. Growing food makes it easier to have a sense of awe and mystery. Rinse and repeat. And then mentor others in science and wonder.


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