Gardening is a metaphor for life

Week 13: Urban Farming

I've always tinkered in the garden, but until a few years ago I was an inconsistent gardener at best. I got more serious about it after three loved ones died one after another in a fairly short period of time. Consumed with grief and struggling in other areas of my life as well, I sought solace in the garden.

Forget me not

The thing about gardens is that they reflect experiences we go through in our own lives. Full of hope, we plant seeds, our minds focused on the bountiful harvest sure to follow. But some seeds don't grow and it doesn't seem to be possible to accurately predict which seeds will flourish and which will perish. No matter how robust the seed, how fertile the soil, and how perfect the conditions, some plants just don't grow. The same is true in life. Some things don't work out, no matter how hard we try. That's just the way it is.

Conversely, sometimes the most improbable scenarios come to pass. The seed that's planted in imperfect soil, poorly tended and left to its own devices, somehow thrives against the odds. Go figure.

Solitary Pear

Seasons come and seasons go. Seeds germinate slowly then surge out of the earth ready to take their chances in the harsh conditions of the world. Some seeds live. Some seeds die. Some bear bountiful harvests while others make a start and then wither back into the ground.

Seeing all this play out in a garden helps keep life in perspective. Change is the only constant and we can't control or predict every variable. The perception that we can is a comforting illusion, yet we all seem to be guilty at times of trying to control the uncontrollable. Still, there's much we can control and plenty of things we can do to make life (and our gardens) better. Sometimes the trick is not just in knowing the best thing to do, but in having the strength to actually do it.

Developing Grapes

This week I staked my tomatoes in the rain, celebrating the brief respite from heat as my water tanks filled. I pulled out some weeds, picked zucchinis, salad greens, beets, herbs, and sugar snap peas. And I had enough ripe produce to provide home grown food at every meal. It's not a grand achievement, as achievements go, but it's enough.

Lettuce

By the way, the nest that was built for the baby Magpie Larks that live in our garden fell out of its tree this week, its usefulness outlived. The times they are a-changing.

Magpie Lark Nest