Last season, we had cherry tomatoes galore, and I planted another round of those and also cucumbers and squash. But 2020 is strange, so a late freeze killed them all. I waited two weeks, and then tried again, this time adding zucchini and vine tomatoes as well.
They’re growing now, slowly inching up and out, thickening in the middle. I’ve been attentive, looking for wilting or discoloration, weeding to keep the ground free of competition, adding just the right amount of water. I want the fruit. There is something so strange in the desire, as if those green and red and yellow globular and oblong shapes of plump flesh can save me.
Last winter I buried our old pumpkins in a corner of the garden, and I can see the spread, wonder if they will hog the soil. My mint, rosemary and lemon balm are growing in the gaps and spreading fast too; they'll probably have to be curbed.
My oldest is fourteen, about the age when one desires to sever or at least loosen ties to family. He has been stuck with us since March. He needs to grow, but is being stifled. We’ve been playing ball in the street and yard, but I’m not a teenager anymore. I guess my cool factor has diminished. What!?!
My middle sons are two years apart, and competitive. They come to blows over the silliest things yet sometimes fall asleep side by side in embrace. They can’t get out of each other’s way, and don’t seem to try. Both have an abundance of scratches and scars testifying to their constant jostling and affection.
My youngest has begun to hit us with the Mutombo finger-wag and accompanying “No, no, no,” and when chastised, responds, “I’m not talking to you.” He is constantly playing with his Star Wars legos, and we’re pretty sure he thinks he’s the Emperor around here.
My wife has been working non-stop trying to make home a haven, cooking wondrous meals and ordering the house each day. I love her, I’m lucky, and I’m filled with gratitude.
But we get on each other’s nerves too, you know. I used to leave five days a week, and give her a break. So did the kids. And she’s an extrovert, so she’d sure like to see some new faces. I’m a loner, so I’d like to go find a green cliff on an island in the middle of nowhere for a few days. I might bring books. And Coffee.
We’re all still trying to live, still trying to flourish in our little container garden, striving toward the light, but we’re on top of each other, and whether we like it or not, we’ve been forced to look hard and honest at our weeds. They have to go. There is no room.
I learned a lot in my landscaping days with my dad (he would have turned 72 today-love you and miss you, Pops – memory eternal!).
I pulled millions (probably trillions) of weeds. If allowed to fester too long, weed roots become entwined with the plants you want to keep. Sometimes, despite your most surgical efforts, some of what is good is also torn, damaged. Pulling the weeds sometimes brings destruction. But left alone, weeds will consume everything.
This time is a drag in so many ways, some physical, and many emotional and spiritual.
Here’s to looking forward to a bountiful harvest.
When this started, I thought I’d write a whole novel. I remember seeing a lot of memes about folks dreaming of perfect bods or second and third languages, PhD's or decks and pools. That was before the cloud kept darkening. I hear people are snatching up pets for comfort. We’re just trying to get through.
I pray mercy for us all. There is little room to escape the honest look right now. We can’t hide from ourselves, and tough choices have to be made. Mainly, we have to surrender, and then there can be rest, and fruit.
“Take my yolk upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yolk is easy and my burden is light.” – Matthew 11:29-30
“But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.” – Galatians 5:22-23
In several weeks, I’ll have to increase my vigilance around the plants. Scavengers will be coming for easy pickings. You’ll have to protect what you’ve gained, too.
Take care, and press on.
"Examine all things; hold on to the good."
-Saint Paul the Apostle