The Mother With No Cell Phone


Image courtesy Flickr/woodleywonderworks

I’m back in Indiana this weekend, checking in on my parents and the farm. This morning at about 6:30, I opened the doors to the barn and before starting up the tractor and heading out to the field, I paused for a moment. It was in the early hours when the light of the sunrise bounces off the clouds and a mist hangs over the field. The birds were waking up, but it was quiet and still.

What do I love about this time so much?

I realized part of my love of nature has to do with communication. Mother Nature has no cell phone. In the garden, her communication is clearer than my spotty AT&T signal. Some things grow, others don’t.

She doesn’t text either. “Screwed up again, Ramsey. Those pumpkin seeds are too deep.” It would be redundant. After all, I’ve been poking around in my planned pumpkin patch for weeks and it’s still just dirt.

Why not return Mother Nature’s call?

With a little work you can partake in something simple and pure – growing some of your own food — and you’ll be in communication with her. Or just sprout some seeds in a window box. This year on my back porch in New York City, I grew everything from seed: tomatoes, peppers, onions, purple carrots, arugula, and kale. While no match for the farm garden, it was very satisfying to harvest a salad several nights a week or put together a stew with fresh veggies.

Year after year I am as delighted as a little kid when the seeds sprout. And I get blown away that a single seed can produce so much food! Back on the farm, one cantaloupe seed yielded 25 cantaloupes (and hundreds of seeds for next year). It was with great pleasure I gave a farmer at my neighborhood farmer’s market a bag of chili peppers and yellow pear tomatoes.

Mother nature moves in mysterious ways for sure, but the results can be delicious, and oh so satisfying. She doesn’t call or text, but gardeners around the country know some of her secrets. And I’ll be checking in with a few in person, so next year we can carve pumpkins that I’ll start from seed.

Drew Ramsey, MD

Drew Ramsey, M.D. is a psychiatrist, author, and farmer. He is a clear voice in the mental health conversation and one of psychiatry’s leading proponents of using nutritional interventions. He is an assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons.

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