At the very edge of St. Edward’s, behind the Teresa Residence Hall sits a tiny garden. This garden has a weathered sign with the words “Community Garden: brought to you by Students for Sustainability” etched on to it. Without the sign, the garden could very well be overlooked as just another part of the St. Edward’s campus, but the garden is much more.
Students for Sustainability is an organization dedicated to educating students about environmental studies, while immersing them into the subject as well. The garden serves as the medium for which students can involve themselves in the environment. This garden may be small in size, but it is a remarkable place teeming with the possibilities of education and life. Earlier in September, the garden seemed like nothing more than a polygonal-chicken-wire-contraption needlessly protecting weeds and grass. A week later, there was some noticeable changes: the weeds were cleared out and the lush, brown dirt spoke of promise. The weather at this time was typical summer weather; the sun was relentless and the heat was more than a little uncomfortable. Just sitting in the garden was hard for me, so I commend the people who took the time to tend to the garden.
Stewing in the heat, I began to think about our class lecture concerning the multitude of nutrient cycles life is dependent on and their subsequent connection to the sun. The sun is the constant in every nutrient cycle. From the water cycle to the sulfur cycle, solar energy is vital to the continuation of life. After all of my musings about the cycles and the sun, I decided to give the sun a break and forgave it for turning me into a puddle of sweat. The next week I visited the garden, it seemed as if the sun was acknowledging me for the amnesty I granted it because the welcoming of fall was marvelously refreshing. I remember there being a coolness that I hadn’t experienced since the tail end of spring. In addition to the cool weather was an interesting addition to the garden: large blue recycling tubs. These tubs would serve as the irrigation system for the garden. Eventually the tubs will hold the water needed to keep the plants refreshed and nourished.
So far, the garden hasn’t been planted, but I am eager to observe the garden through the months in addition to the changing of the season. While reading A Sand County Almanac, I found a quote that truly relates to my observation site: “Acts of creation are ordinarily reserved for gods and poets, but humbler folk may circumvent this restriction if they know how. To plant a pine, for example, one need be neither god nor poet; one need only own a shovel.” Although the quote may not completely relate in context, for I am not planting a pine tree in the midst of a snowy December, the quote relates to the purpose of the garden. Students are creating a place locality of life, shovel in hand and nature in their hearts. At the edge of the St. Edward’s campus, a beautiful thing is unfurling and I am pleased to have a front row seat to the show.