Women, Duality, and Alice Walker

Sometimes while writing or updating you all on my progress in this 40before40 series, I upload pictures first. Why? I really have to search for a very streamlined and edited presentation of my words and thoughts ESPECIALLY when I speak about the goal to grow a full garden. This personal and reflective journey of gardening has done more than one thing for me since I began. I can only describe it as peeling back the layers of the sweetest onion. With every vegetable I plant, every hole I dig, every weed I pull, every fruit I bear--I bear an even deeper understanding of myself, why I am here, and what it is that I need to do. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden 

Last year, I planted my garden alone. This year, I have the most humbling honor to plant alongside with my fiance Daniel, who is a natural at gardening. Here's the story.... Last year, while he walked along and looked at everything I grew, he noticed the lemongrass with amazement. It shocked him to see this big abundant plant growing that looked all too familiar. He was so surprised and pleased with the idea of me growing lemongrass. He even asked Why? What made me grow lemongrass lol. He said he had the fondest of memories enjoying lemongrass tea with his mother as a young boy and even a man. He gently rubbed the lemongrass through his hands in smelled it's beautiful scent. SN: Have you ever smelled lemongrass????? Days thereafter, for the rest of summer, he taught me how to make lemongrass tea and we both enjoyed it with delight. 

Fast forward, we planned to plant it again. This morning, I called him to let him know I found some at Home Depot and would plant it before I started working today. Well of course, he said he would do it this evening for me. I couldn't wait for a couple of reasons. I like to do things myself just because I'm an overachiever. haha. Secondly, I like to learn how to do things myself. 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden

So I came home and planted my lemongrass, another tomato plant, zuchinni, and  two okra plants (I love okra that much). As I was planting, many thoughts of women who garden, Alice Walker's In Search of Our Mothers Gardens continued to resurface in my mind. It has happened before so I couldn't just walk away from it today. I couldn't. Here I was again at a lost of words, wondering where this whole out of the blue notion to start my own garden came from, what did I need from these plants and what did they need from me? What is it that Alice Walker's profound body of work needs me to express on her genius and creative behalf? 

Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden

While out there working, I kept thinking of duality? What role do women play in gardening? What is needed of woman and man both together and individually? How does it relate to the bigger picture of nature and nourishing and sustaining life? I remember watching a food documentary called COOKED by Michael Pollan where he explores the way food has evolved through the natural elements of fire, water, air and earth. I recalled the earth episode in which he discussed the role women have in food and it's evolution in Mexico. To my surprise, women are the ones working the fields gardening and growing vegetables while the man works. After putting up my gardening tools and cleaning my hands, I searched "mexican women who garden", scrolled down a bit and found this little gem and the next puzzle piece that surely will link and connect me to the next goal of Opening My Own Apothecary. It's a great read about rural African American women who garden, their history and the African American environmental perspective. Guess what was the opening quote, 

 Guided by my heritage of a love of beauty and a respect for strength—in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.
— Alice Walker, In Search of our Mother’s Gardens, 1967
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden
Andrea Fenise Memphis Fashion Blogger shares #40before40 goal to grow a full garden