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Morgan Brumm wasn’t much of a gardener, until she discovered that in gardening is the power to create life.

When I was much younger, I spent many Sundays under the shade of my fig tree, watching my mother as she cared for the many plants that brought life and vibrance to our backyard. As I lounged in the Adirondack chair, I would peek over the top of a book, observing how she took great care to tend to each flower, bush, vine, and tree. While I wasn’t interested in getting my hands dirty, I deeply admired her dedication to maintaining the healthy and brilliant state of the garden.

It wasn’t until my aunt gifted me a small pot and a sachet of sunflower seeds that I tried my hand at gardening. For a while, the seeds sat in the corner of my room, begging me to plant them. Finally, after growing tired of looking at them, I decided to plant them, not expecting them to grow, but still seeking the satisfaction that would come with knowing that I had at least made the effort. I placed the pot on my windowsill, and watered the pot each day, until to my surprise, after about a week, the tiniest sprout of green peeked out from beneath the soil. I felt the pride swell in my chest—I had brought a seed to life! It was no big deal, yet I felt a sense of accomplishment that comes only with commitment and patience. I finally understood what had driven my mother to spend countless hours in the garden. This spurred me to continue to care diligently for the small sprout as it grew slowly, giving me hope that I could nurse the undeveloped sunflower into a fully-fledged, towering stalk.

About a month later, I stood in the planter box outside my kitchen window, looking up at a sunflower that stared down at me, as it reached toward the sky. It had never occurred to me that I had the power to bring life into the world, yet as I stood next what was the result of tender love and care, I was extremely pleased with what I had accomplished. After that moment, it became my ritual to garden on Sundays as I chased that feeling of gratification and achievement. Even now, as I spend increasingly less time outside, my busy life dominated by schoolwork, friends, and screens, I always make time for my garden, knowing my roots will keep me grounded.

With a Perspective, I’m Morgan Brumm.

Morgan Brumm is a recent graduate of Notre Dame High school in San Jose, now attending the University of San Francisco.