Monday, October 24, 2011

Unearthing an Unexpected Bounty

This Spring, I double-dug my raised beds, worked composted manure into the soil, and gently planted my seeds and seedlings after all danger of a frost had passed. As the tiny plants began to establish themselves, I kept the beds weeded and stood sentry against any invasion of would-be pests.

And then I got distracted.

I mean, like, criminally distracted. Like, I should be barred from calling myself a gardener. I basically ignored my garden. For months.

I know, I know. How could I just leave a carefully planned garden to languish? How could I let all my hard work be taken over by weeds? The answer is complicated, but the simplest explanation is that my head just wasn't in it. I had so many other things going on in my life and in my mind this summer, I just simply did not have room for caring for Swiss chard and cucumbers.

And then slowly, as the weather cooled, I came back to my garden. My mind quieted, and I found myself longing for the feel of the soil between my fingers again. I began to pull the weeds from the garden. At first, the sight of all those spent plants, choked by vining brown weeds shamed me. The growing pile of pulled vegetation was a rebuke: Where have you been? But the simple act of kneeling in the dirt was so calming, so nourishing, that I let all the should have's go. It just felt so good to get my hands dirty again.

And then I found them. Beneath a mass of weeds, a few green tops of carrots remained. I pulled them, thinking I could at least get a carrot or two out of all of this mess. To get the full group of carrots out, I had to dig in the dirt with my fingers. And I just... kept digging. All through the patch where I had planted those carrot seeds back in May, carrots were waiting under the soil. Many of them had had their tops chewed off by the local (active) bunny population, but under the surface, big fat beautiful carrots remained. Just... waiting. Waiting for me to come find them. Waiting for me to be ready to appreciate them.

I sat there with my harvest, and laughed. With joy, with relief, and with gratitude for a world that holds its gifts in reserve, waiting for me to be ready to accept them in all their secret, delicious glory.

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