Wednesday, May 2, 2012
Best Laid Plans...
Last year's dill reseeded itself with enthusiasm. I will be thinning it--sorry dill, some of you will never know what it is like to have a head, freezing it and using it generously in this year's canning of garlic dill green tomatoes. The frothy little leaves serve better in that recipe than do the big heads. They prefer to float lazily in the pickle jars anyway.
Today I thumbed through my seed file (i.e. bigger basket of similarly stashed seed packets) to gather the ones that visit the garden. This may be one of the last rounds of "spring crop" plantings. The next basket out will have beans and squash and cucumbers.
But sometimes...or rather, every time...
That ragged little row of garlic above was planted by my youngest son a few weeks ago. I can't wait until he comes home from school today so that I can show it to him, and here's why. Some years ago when he was just 6 or 7, his class painted tiny flower pots and set flower seeds to growing in them for Mother's Day. But, his pot got caught up in a tussle, and his was the only one that didn't produce a seedling with the hopes of a someday blossom. His teacher pulled me aside and whispered her fears of the hopelessness to me, so when he brought the pretty pot with the bare dirt home and presented it, I quickly and secretly planted seeds. Later, I showed him his "late bloomer." Was it sin or grace that I eased his sadness this way? I don't know. But this I do know: while it wasn't one of life's great tragedies, it did somehow imprint on the child that if his hand put the seed to the soil, growth was delayed at best and more likely hopeless.
This garlic growing happily green, albeit a little crooked between other ranks of its kind--one planted last fall , another planted just today--might teach him something new.
Something big and mysterious and important:
It's not so much about us.
We can do our part to cooperate, offer the best conditions, plan for growth in its optimal season, run interference against the dangers of birds and bugs and tussles; but at its sub-soil level, growth pays no attention to us. The magic will or won't happen. The seed-cover will or won't burst open.
We can send out the invitation, but we can't make that little plant come to the party.
And, once we come to understand this uncontrollable truth, joy and gratitude are the prevailing aroma over any garden where life buys into the growing plan!