Gathering thoughts



It is the last week of the year and I am reviewing my garden journal. This journal has the details of my garden life – seeds planted, dates, weather patterns, ideas for new garden beds, drawings so I know where I planted my tulips and more. It is hand written and sloppy. I use a mead quadrille notebook and the pages now crinkle as I flip through the journal seeking bits of learning from this last year and a half. I am organizing my thoughts in Evernote.

  • Tasks for January
  • Changes to the 2016 garden
  • Reflections from 2015
  • Early spring jobs
  • Bringing an old garden forward

I am listening to myself. Listen was my OLW ( One Little Word) this year. So I decided I should go back and see what I said. I should listen to my own writing.

The project began so I would know what I want to plant this year, what worked and didn’t work last year, what seeds do I need to buy or have left over. I was looking for details, tasks – the jobs that need to be done. I was moving notes and highlights but the details slowly began to move themselves to a larger picture – bigger questions.

Do I want to copy the old family garden? Build a repeat garden of my Mothers? What do I seek when gardening? Why do I garden? What are my goals for 2016? What are my hopes and dreams as I move into 2016?

Wow – How did I get from ordering carrot seeds to hopes and dreams?

There, my friends, is the magic of writing and reflecting. I could say it is the results of an unfocused mind (which may be true) but I like to think it is more the results of taking time to reflect and ask questions – a task that is not encouraged in our society today.

I have not completed my review and have not yet set my OLW for next year, my hope for the year, but I figure I have a few more days.

  • What are you doing to review and reflect as we move into the new year?
  • How will you help your students learn this skill of reflection?
  • Do you have your students review their writing mid year?

While wondering through my garden writing I found this note from Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal Dreams –

“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. The most you can do is live inside that hope, running down the hallways, touching the walls on both sides.”


About Joanne Toft

I am a retired Minneapolis Public School teacher. I walk, garden, care for my Grandson and write. Life is good!
This entry was posted in Reflection, writing. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Gathering thoughts

  1. arjeha says:

    It is great to look back on our accomplishments of the past year and reflect on what worked and what didn’t. It also gives us a starting point to dream about the future and think about what we envision happening not only in our garden but also in our lives. So often we don’t listen to ourselves. What a pity. After all, who knows us better? Happy 2016 and happy gardening.

  2. Linda Baie says:

    I have inherited someone else’s garden & while I enjoy what appears, I have less investment in it than I did at my other home. I do more with the plants indoors. I did keep a garden journal, love hearing you reflect upon yours, Joanne, & then into bigger things. Reflection is important to me, too, & I like hearing others, sometimes take their ideas to make mine. I love the Kingsolver quote, love all her books. Thank you for that, and Happy New Year with your new word!

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