In the Valley of the Jolly Green Mommy
Sep 11, 1995
I have a couple of friends who have amazing gardens. I decided that this year, I too would commune with mother earth. I'd admired Cristy's garden for years. She's got trenches dug, grass clippings scattered, and beanpoles sunk into the ground. Roslyn's garden is equally immaculate. She has strings running down the rows, seed packets fastened at the ends and cute little mounds of earth piled at the foot of each plant.
Lesa, who used to live in this house, planted a garden last year. I thought that because of her foundation it would be easy for me to "plow the fields and scatter the good seed on the land." I got out there one day in late April and began pounding the ground with the corner of a hoe. After about 4 minutes, the blade flipped off into the air. I didn't have a rototiller or another hoe, so I took a shovel and began to turn over the ground. Chop, dig, turn. Chop, dig, turn. Wiggling earthworms were exposed. My daughter, Gracie was watching me. "Ew, you cut him in half with the shovel, Mommy. Ew, you cut another one. Ew."
After about an hour I had a nice little chopped up hunk of ground, ready for planting. I tried to make little mounds for the cucumbers and little trenches for the carrots, sunflowers and corn. I called the children and gave them handfuls of seeds and we went crazy. Forty carrot seeds in one hole. Four rows of corn, four inches apart. Spinach, peppers, beans. I was so proud. We laid bricks and stones all around the perimeter. I wrote what was planted in each row on a big stone with a magic marker. I had no idea what I was doing.
Then I didn't look at it again for about two months.
When I got around to surveying the results, I didn't know what to expect. What awaited me was a small lawn growing where my vegetables were supposed to be. I couldn't tell the weeds from the legitimate stuff. I spent another afternoon pulling up all the grass and replanting the carrots that were squishing each other. My tall, spindly tomato plants were barren, save two tomatoes. One was orange and half rotten, one was green. The sunflowers, spinach, and green peppers were still born. Or maybe they were never conceived. There were two stalks of corn with a few kernels exposed and ants marching up and down them. The cucumbers survived -- a couple dozen baby pickles sprawled on the ground. This was my bounteous harvest, my cornucopia of delight?
It's interesting how so many things in life reflect other things. For example you can compare marriage to a garden, or a life of faith to a garden, or a friendship or business to a garden. The time you invest in planting, fertilizing,and weeding will be in direct proportion to the harvest in the end. I feel like this little experience is a symbolic reminder, gently prodding me to pay attention to my more subtle gardens. I'm taking the hint and examining the inner life.
Still, I can look out my kitchen window and see the patch at the back of the yard. From a distance it still looks pretty good.
Kimmy Sophia Brown has loved humor and music and freedom for as long as she can remember.She is especially passionate about the environment and caring for animals.
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