Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Green Tomorrow

To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow.
- Audrey Hepburn

I started my first vegetable garden 5 years ago, in pots that were much too small, outside my apartment's front door in a much too shady and busy walkway. Throughout the day I would move the pots holding my precious tomatoes and peppers to wherever the sun was filtering through the branches of an overgrown pine tree. It was the worst conceivable place to grow a garden, but that little potted garden that gave me a total of three tomatoes and two stunted bell peppers ignited a passion in my soul that I have never been able to shake.

Today, the first sight you will lay your eyes on when you go in my backyard is a large display of raised beds that is home to everything from asparagus to watermelon. My mornings and evening are spent tending to my garden and my kitchen is home to the rewards these plants offer in return for my care and attention. It seems at times my daughter was raised in the vegetable garden and the age of two can rattle off facts about garlic scapes, and the importance of ladybugs, and that melons have both female and male flowers.

I always found it funny that so much of my life is avoiding thoughts of the future, a future that statistics and doctors assure me won't be long. Yet, I spend my time on a hobby, a passion, an obsession that is all about forward thinking and constant planning for the future. The seeds I so careful sow in the ground in spring comes with so much hope of thick green vines heavy with melons that will fill my stomach and soul mid summer. I cover my strawberries today to protect them from tomorrows ravishing birds. Asparagus is planted with the hope that in three years time I will have spears to grace my dinner table.

If you ask me about the future of my garden you will grow bored and restless long before I stop chattering on about expansion, and artichokes, and aphids. If you ask my about my future, the future of my health and my life you will be greeted with a harrowing silence. You will see an empty vastness in my eyes so foreign in a woman still in the prime of her adulthood.

The garden is a way to plan for the future and put my hopes and dreams into a tomorrow that feels so uncertain. Somehow it feels safer to make plans for my plants than for myself. If I never get the harvest of cherries it is much less heartbreaking than never seeing my daughter get ready for prom.

So for now I carefully tuck seeds into the soil so that in two months from now the ground will be stuffed with plump carrots. And as for what lies in the future? The carrots are all I can be certain of.