No. 819



If you could stand a little practical advice in the areas of happiness, loss, humility, pride, death, life or some other crucial aspect of our existence, I have some great news for you. Sometime back I received an offer from Steve Bates to preview his first book titled, “The Seeds of Spring -- Lessons from the Garden.” Steve Bates is a longtime gardener and journalist who grew up in the Virginia suburbs of Washington, D.C., and spent 14 years as a reporter and editor at The Washington Post. Steve received a scholarship from the Virginia chapter of Sigma Delta Chi, the Society of Professional Journalists, and he earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of William and Mary.
After reading his book, I have concluded this is not only a great book from the gardener’s perspective, but it demonstrates how our gardens can teach us valuable lessons about life. As one would suspect, this journalist with one of our nation’s major newspapers is a gifted writer, but what sets Steve apart is that he loves nothing better than to get his hands dirty in the soil. He not only loves to reap the rewards of seeing things grow, but also enjoying the fruits of his labor at the dinner table. “The Seeds of Spring” follows the challenges, failures, joys and revelations that Steve experiences as he cultivates vegetables, fruits and flowers in a remarkable setting.
The book intertwines practical “how-to” gardening advice with deep insights as he recognizes the richness and simplicity of the outdoor life and the importance of sustainability for individuals and the planet. As they say, the proof is in the pudding and I don’t know of a better way to convince you to buy and read this book, especially if you love to garden, than to share a portion of the Foreword with you.
He begins: “We all tend gardens. Tens of millions of us battle heat and storms and unrelenting weeds, all for that golden moment when we pluck that first rich tomato of summer or fill a basket to the brim with bright yellow zinnias. We save a little on our grocery bills, welcome the release of tension as we work the soil, revel in that supreme sense of satisfaction as we harvest the fruits of our labor.
“We tend figurative gardens, too. We cultivate our careers, families and sow the seeds of hopes and dreams. We weed out illness, transplant hope, nurture ideas. In countless ways, we strive to create, to shape, to guide, to produce and we are compelled to be at least a tiny part of something bigger than ourselves, outside of ourselves. Yet it is in our garden plots that our spirits take flight in unique, myriad and sometimes surprising ways. It is here that we become more than just neighbors and voters and architects. We come to realize that we are the fortunate ones who know that dirt is not dirty, that returning home with a line of fine soil under our fingernails is a badge of honor.”
Well, I will stop there because you can easily see what a gifted writer Steve Bates really is, and his ability to use words that can add meaning to our lives. The whole book is laced with solid and entertaining ideas that will stimulate your thinking in ways you may have not even considered. A healthy mind is a good mind that will serve us well all the days of our lives. “The Seeds of Spring” is available from Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle editions or visit his web site: www.theseedsofspring.com.
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a public speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034. To begin a bookcase literacy project visit www.bookcaseforeverychild.com. You won’t go wrong helping a needy child.)