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Layk Nollen March 24, 2021

As an online school student during a pandemic, I spend much of my time inside. …Okay, I spend all my time inside. Much like other students and even faculty/staff, being inside all day can be pretty, well, depressing. Not to mention the stress of online school, and the anxiety many of us face on a day-to-day basis due to the pandemic.

I currently live in Roland, which is about 20 minutes away from Boone. And I am lucky enough to have a nice backyard with a few spaces for gardening. When we first moved here I was a teenager, and I didn’t really care for the garden (or the outside in general for that matter). I had more important things to worry about, like when my crush in high school looked at me across the room…

However, exactly two years ago, I was taking a gap year after graduating high school, and at the time was unemployed. I didn’t know exactly what I wanted to do with all my time, but I knew I wanted to put it into something. I had mentioned this to my father, who suggested that I work in our backyard. It dawned upon me that we have a backyard… and a garden that wasn’t really being taken care of. The flower patches were more like weed patches. Vines were choking out the trees, and things overall were not looking so good. So, I put on a pair of jeans, dawned my straw-lined hat, armed myself with a pair of shears, and a shovel, and set off to work. 

At a time where I was rather depressed and anxious, gardening soon became an outlet. As the weeks passed by, I noticed that I was going out to my little garden almost every day. Plucking, shearing, digging, raking, etc. And soon enough, I started to see tulips peeking up from the soil. lily of the valley, iris’, peonies, daffodils, and a gaggle of other plants that I had no idea what they were. But, they were all beautiful. After many weeks of hard work, my little garden was blooming. 

In a way, the garden represented my own issues. It was rather neglected, and not cared for the way it needed to be. And while I was working in it, I had a lot of time to reflect and pull the weeds out of not only the garden but my mind. 

Gardening was and is my at-home therapy. To this day, I make an effort every year to spend as much time as I can in my garden. It allows me to de-stress, keep myself occupied, and reflect on things if need be. Having a creative outlet during this time like gardening can be pretty restorative to our overall well-being.