I was surprised to hear one person ask, "Why do you have rain barrels?"
I quickly said, "To water my garden. I've raised beds."
She shared her attempts this year at growing tomatoes and left.
Yet I was left with her question and my unsatisfying answer.
Why do I have rain barrels?
The obvious answer is to water my garden. It's not about saving money since beyond my two raised beds and four potato bags we've dozens of hydrangeas, ferns, coral bells and hostas reliant on Metro's water.
'Why do I really have rain barrels?' I wondered.
The seed was planted at Uplands, a progressive little retirement community to where friends moved in Pleasant Hill, TN. They along with their neighbors had rain barrels. Rain barrels then became PC or environmentally fashionable.
We purchased our first one in 2008, cut off the gutter despite Jerry's concern, and presto the next time we had rain it worked. I felt such satisfaction watching the gutter's little waterfall. I also discovered the water fall quickly filled the barrel. Store bought rain barrels can be pricey. Thanks to a news story, I found a class at Shelby Bottoms in which for a third of the retail cost I could make my own.
One quick class and a few bucks later, I had three rain barrels and verbal directions on how to drill holes in the sturdy plastic and connect the three with PVC pipe. I suspect I was the first woman on my street fifteen years ago to own a plumbers snake and know how to use it but fast forward all those years and now I'd rather write about plastic and PVC than tackle drilling and gluing.
Last week I realized there might be another option for connecting the barrels. With sections cut from an old garden hose and the gadgets that go on the end of hoses (thanks to Hillsboro Hardware) the barrels were joined. For ten days I've hoped for rain on our rainless radar until yesterday when it appeared we might have enough liquid sunshine to prompt an overflow from barrel one to barrel two.
As I said goodbye to folks I'll probably never see again, I really did feel like a kid running out to check on a new toy. I excitedly showed them, "See. There's the water line." Since the cheaper versions are white, the water level's visible. Barrel 1 had filled and overflowed to barrel 2.
Today I've checked the barrels several times and smiled. It's not as much about my idea working as the satisfaction felt in collecting rain and appreciatively holding it until the skies aren't so rainy and my plants are needy.
Not only have I acknowledged the held water but this morning as most mornings, I went out early and greeted my garden. Yes, I audibly said, "Good morning. I'm happy to see you."
The plants were glad to see me too. In the process I found a green bean and was surprised by what I think are carrots that need thinning.
So here's what I've discovered about why I really have rain barrels.
I've rain barrels for the same reason I plant seeds. I experience a harmony, peace and presence in my body, deep satisfaction within, when I'm consciously in relationship with the environment. When I'm on autopilot, not listening or awake, I'm anything but peaceful and present.
Collecting rain, growing things, feeding the birds, escorting the bug from my journal page via a leaf while writing outside are all about beauty to me, the beauty of being in relationship with Nature's living things.
Beauty is being gifted with water from the skies which I in turn gift to my garden when it's dry. Even if my plants do not bear fruit, I am gifted through their presence and process.
The rain, the plants, the soil, the sun are integral in the many magical circles in our world, magical circles through which Mother Earth is sustained and sustains us.
When awake and aware, we are like the rain barrels collecting the wisdom, love and imagination spilling down from Beyond flowing into form as words, images, songs, sensings and knowings, growing circles and supporting sacred cycles everywhere.
When I am awake and aware, I am one with my rain barrels.
-Dawn, The Good News Muse, 16 June 2011
Rain barrel class this Saturday June 18 10am with Gardens of Babylon at this link. Class is ten dollars and rain barrels will be sold discounted according to website site HERE
Here's a link for ongoing rain barrel and composting bin's for reduced prices in Middle TN with upcoming area events sponsored by TN Recycling Coalition. Click HERE.