Facing the monster we created

Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Pop. Interspersed with the sounds of panic.

The sounds from inside Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School on Valentine’s Day.

The sounds so common that we instantly know what they are.

The sounds of an assault rifle shredding lives in another mass shooting in our country.

As the father of a high school student, each pop cuts through my soul, knowing that there’s nothing to prevent the same thing in our community.

Continue reading Facing the monster we created

Stepping off our ideological icebergs

If we spend too much time watching cable news and Twitter feeds, the world looks like a giant dumpster fire burning out of control.

Hate.

Outrage.

Pain.

Division.

A year ago, that’s all I saw. We were a week into a new presidency that I couldn’t stomach or even fathom, and all I saw was an impending war for the soul of our country. I had my pitchfork out, entrenched and ready to strike. I’ve read the Facebook posts I made a year ago, and many of them are filled with the same things I saw in the world. Hate. Outrage. Pain. Division. 

Continue reading Stepping off our ideological icebergs

Making room for what’s next

For most of my adult life, I thought I possessed a critical character flaw because I don’t have close, lifelong friends. I’d look at people whose inner circle of friends knows what they were like in grade school, high school, or even college — and wonder what was wrong with me.

I look back on the ages of 20, 25, 30, 35, 40, and 45, and my inner circle looks completely different at each milestone, with very little thread between. I remember the moments of the purest, most intense connection with people who now exist mostly in memory or the periphery of life. I’m often overcome with a nostalgic sadness and regret that those moments are no longer on the center stage of my life.

It’s taken me nearly 47 years to understand, but the impermanence of nearly all of our connections is a good thing. 

Continue reading Making room for what’s next

Hearing each other’s stories

This is one of the most salient pieces of art I’ve ever seen — and I have my kid to thank for it. He’s heard me talk about these issues at length, and I’m proud that he sees the importance of us engaging with them and each other’s stories.

One request. If you start it, please watch until the end. Warning, this is difficult to watch. The language is intense and NSFW.

Sharing of the little moments

We’ve had a string of nice sunrises and sunsets lately, but none of the drop everything and grab the camera variety.

I sat drinking coffee on Friday morning, enjoying the calm before I woke my son for school and I prepared for a day at work. Bright orange sun streamed through my apartment kitchen window, silhouetting the coleus cuttings I’m rooting in a water goblet.

Even from a distance, I could see the sky reflected in the bowl and stem of the glass, despite the windows being fogged with condensation. Continue reading Sharing of the little moments

Beyond our blogs

On May 1-2, I attended the P. Allen Smith Garden2Blog event in Little Rock, Arkansas with 23 other garden bloggers from around the country. Over a non-stop 48 hours, we visited gardens, talked about new garden products with PAS sponsors and partners, and networked with each other.

When I started From the Soil, I had no idea the impact it would have on my life. In the past three years, this blog has given me the opportunity to tour beautiful gardens and learn about the latest and greatest in the garden industry. But travel, products and plants aside, what stands out the most to me is the people I’ve met along the way.

When I got back home from Garden2Blog, I realized something unusual about the hundreds of photos on my camera. Most of them were of people, not plants. The true beauty of an event like Garden2Blog is that it brings us together as gardeners, colleagues, and friends. When we talk, learn and, yes, laugh together, that’s when relationships grow. I don’t truly know P. Allen Smith’s motivation behind Garden2Blog, but I suspect the relationships we cultivate with each other are a large part of the equation.

Continue reading Beyond our blogs