I have friends who celebrate all the various national and world such and such days. They treat them as an opportunity to reflect on something different each day. I’m not in the habit of doing that, but today I want to share a few that I’m paying attention to.
Like today, it’s Maundy Thursday, which even for the non-religious, makes for a lovely reminder that no matter our status, the most important work we can do is help each other with humility. It also teaches us that no one person is more important than anyone else in the grand scheme of things.
It’s also national pecan day, national look up at the sky day, and national reach as high as you can day. There’s something worth contemplating in each one of these ideas.
National Pecan Day
Pecans, for example, are a nutritious, delicious, high-protein food source. Pecan pie is a glorious thing. Pecans, blue cheese, and cranberries are a perfect combination to compliment a homegrown salad.
Pecan trees take decades to become fruitful and can then produce for ages in the right conditions. Unfortunately the most productive, mature trees are the most likely to be killed during high winds, flooding, and drought. As such, pecans and the farmers that grow them are at risk for livelihood decimation by increasingly severe weather caused by climate change.
We can and should celebrate pecans for their incredible utility and taste. But it’s just as important to celebrate the environmental factors, people, other life forms, and processes that make it possible for us to pick up a package of pecans on National Pecan Day!
National Look Up At The Sky Day
I love the ideas behind this day. It’s about being present in the moment, taking time to get out doors during the day, and noticing nature. Cloud-watching and star-gazing are two of my favorite things to do and I can’t imagine not having an ever-changing, yet still eternal sky as the backdrop to our world.
After growing up in Southern California, against a skyscape of seasonal smog and fire smoke, I also know that for people living in polluted areas, even seeing the sky can be a challenge. So, this day is also an opportunity to think about air quality and light pollution and their impact on our experience of the sky.
National Reach as High as You Can Day
The intent behind this celebratory act is that you push beyond your comfort zone in some way to expand your experience and your limits. I appreciate that it’s meant as a positive message to encourage us to believe in ourselves.
Sometimes, though, reaching just enough to get by is as high as we can aim. And, I personally think there’s beauty and nobility in doing your best to get by in this challenging world.
I’d like to broaden the reach of this day to encompass not just reaching high, but reaching out in other ways. Reach for the things you need to be healthy. Reach for the help you need, when you can’t do it on your own. Reach out a hand to help others when you already enough. Reach for your dreams if fear is what’s holding you back.
By the way, today is also National Dolphin Day, International Moment of Laughter Day, and a few others. So, if you don’t want to dwell on the examples listed, there are other options too!
National Gardening Day
The one I am personally celebrating today is national gardening day! This one was started back in 2018. But it’s taken on new importance over the last few years.
Gardening is enjoying a long-deserved and much needed revival. And it is changing the world in positive ways.
So many gardeners are interested in adding native plants to support native pollinators and wildlife to their gardens. Nurseries and seed sellers are offering lots more natives to meet the demand. Plus, even big box stores are carrying native plants and reducing their numbers of non-beneficial and sometimes harmful invasive ornamentals.
Once upon a time you had to have fertile land and money to become a gardener. Now, thanks to so many innovations and improvements in understanding we can garden in so many different ways.
For example, thanks to Permaculture ideas, I’m growing an incredibly abundant homestead garden on land that was severely eroded and barren. And I’m not alone. So many people are turning marginal lands back into productive, beautiful, and wildlife supporting places. There are also so many people growing in windows, on balconies, in closets and basements, on roofs and more today.
I also want to celebrate the fact that gardening is becoming an equal opportunity hobby. Even those who can’t access fertile land or don’t have large budgets can still garden in diverse ways.
Before we gave up gardens to grow lawns, it was also normal to grow some vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers for beauty and cutting. Neighbors shared seeds and extra harvests. People pickled, fermented, canned, and cured some of their harvests.
Wild plants weren’t weedy enemies that had to to be chemically poisoned. They were natural vegetation used as a bonus harvest or removed without malice. There was an underlying understanding that we were gardening in nature’s domain not that nature was invading ours.
So many gardeners today are beginning to pick up those past threads and produce food, flowers, and minor medicines at home. We are also recalibrating our relationship with nature provided plants and giving them back a little room in our landscapes.
These ideas and so many more are worth celebrating! As with my earlier examples, though, there is also the downside.
For many people the idea of gardening is a distant dream. Perhaps today is a good day to encourage others to grow their first plant or to donate to an organization helping disadvantaged families or communities gain access to garden plots and seeds.
We are also facing more environmental challenges. As such we need to transition our gardens to be more resilient to the inevitable changes ahead. Today and in the coming weeks, you may want to think about how to prepare your landscape.
As you contemplate the joys of gardening, celebrate your garden and the growth of your skills, and consider the challenges, I also hope you’ll give nature a little thanks too by making a new environmental commitment today.
Maybe you can try gardening with no herbicides or pesticides. Or perhaps, you’ll underplant some trees to cut down on watering. Maybe you’ll try starting seedlings in paper that you would otherwise recycle so that carbon goes to your garden instead. Perhaps start composting for the first time. These small changes add up to big differences over time!
Global Naked Gardening Day
Now, I know that many of you are already looking forward to celebrating May 7th, the Global Naked Gardening Day. But for the record, you will most definitely not find me posting pictures of myself naked in the garden on Instagram to celebrate that holiday! Sorry folks!
But I will laugh hysterically at all of the photos of you gorgeous naked gardeners and your big melons or strategically placed watering cans! I feel like we should probably move International Moment of Laughter Day so that it matches up with Global Naked Gardening Day!
Also, just an FYI, lots of garden sites and garden booksellers, including my publisher, are offering deep discounts for National Gardening Day. You can get a 30% discount on my books and plenty other amazing gardening books today if you use the code NGD2022 at checkout!