We survived the Spring May 2013 snow day. The day that so rudely showed up after my family of five planted our night away. After seemingly endless final exams and 12 page papers my husband has been so diligently enduring, we could rest together. Take a few hours to pretend like the reality of future careers, laundry, and chores don’t exist. To revel in the sight of one another enjoying the basic joys of this world. Watching our food grow before our very eyes.
After planting the Cole crops- onions, broccoli, cabbages, kohlrabi and cauliflower I bite my newly manicured nails knowing that a snow storm was going to come rolling in. The dark clouds formed, the crisp air cut short our park saturated days. And I sat anxiously at home wondering if the plants would make it.
Andres’ Community Garden teaches me about the cycles of life. The surrender to that sometimes in life, you can not control what is rolling in before you. The tenacious attitude of the plants provide hope that no matter what life throws at you, if you will, you can make it. And then I walked around the garden. Surveyed others planting processes. The bursting greens from a cold earth brought me joy for others growth, however I was instantly reminded of the command “to not covet.” One can never compare another’s plot of life to the other. We are each sowing different seasons, in different times.
I say this because we are a family of five, my Navy vet husband is in his final semesters of his Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology. To be raw, sometimes I feel that our steps have been out of sink as a family. Unbalanced. Like planting a crop and being completely ignorant of its delicate root systems, yet yanking it out of its home. Not taking the careful precautions to make it thrive. We got married, and within the first months became unexpectedly pregnant with our first son and soon enjoyed the bliss of other born sons followed. Shortly, after our sons were born my husband entered college. We couldn’t imagine the hardships and completely heavenly circumstances that have joined us. It is easy to compare my life to other 27 to 30 year old persons, but this is completely pointless. All that matters is our own growth. Our own plot in life. Our future journey as a family. The failing cars, tight budgets, and adaptations only produce character. We can do anything together, achieve our wildest dreams as long as we have one another.
And where we are, in this adventure called life, is planting onions that will fill our senses with the most overwhelming fragrance, that will fill our eyes with tears. Provide flavor to our meals. Make homes for cheddar cauliflower and bursting beautiful green broccoli. To invade our normal ways of cooking with cabbage, beyond the traditional Cole slaw.
As a family we are reevaluating food. What it means to snack, to fill ourselves with subsistence versus illusions of food. My boys often ask me, “Is this food from the ground? Or food from the factory?” This is the question that I still ask myself. Growing up with McDonald’s Drive Thru runs, Ben and Jerry Ice Cream endless decisions, and spontaneous childhood girl sleep over nights of chips and candy. In the garden, what is real and true, is what moves my heart.
Even at 6, 4, and 3 years old my children are gripping for a sense of value. That life is not a means of comparing your 14 by 20 plot to another, that it is the most of what you make out of it. Life takes determination, endurance, and confidence. It is not easy, but if you work hard and take the necessary steps it will all work out.
This life can surprise you. That this thing we call life can bring joy in the most tiny of miniscule ways. As I sort through the different packets of tiny life giving seeds, I tuck and bow tie the beauty that a simple seed offers to my life. With one row of planting and watering, this seed will fill my refrigerator. Bring nourishment to many meals, and smiles to faces knowing we did it together. No matter how long it took us.