I’ve been thinking a lot about the future lately. The future of my garden, and of me. What life will be like in the fall, next year, in five years, as we progress through this unprecedented time.
One of the ways that I have been preparing for the future is by gathering seeds from my garden. It gives me joy to know that things that I have cherished this year, may reappear next year as well, if I plant them just right. There’s something life-giving about heading into the garden, and focusing in on just one little plant, one little seed, and wishing them well as you set them off on their journey.
While I have always been a gardener, my time in the garden during quarantine has increased in both quality and quantity. Because Robert and I don’t really go anywhere, the backyard is generally the biggest adventure of the day. We consider and re-consider watering schemes, dream of new plantings, and ways to enhance the productivity of the veggies. I’m no expert, and neither is he. We’re just quarantined humans, trying to find sense and purpose and calm as we commune with nature in our backyard. And there’s so much communion going on! When you really stop and soak it all in, there’s bees and butterflies to consider, birds to identify, blooms to enjoy, insects and tiny reptiles to chase, and of course fruit and veg to pick and enjoy together with our meals. The delight of the purple tomatoes as they ripen! And the thrill of those stunning irises in early spring, my mom’s favorite. And because my garden is just a little plot in my backyard, each day I can revisit its progress, all 250 square feet, and micro-manage to my heart’s content. There’s no one to boss me around except the plants (and sometimes Robert, though his victories are rare). It’s a place where my success is measured by how green, how tall, and how ripe things might be. That in itself brings a sense of peace.
As I sit in my kitchen, and watch the shadow of the leaves slowly dance in the wind on the surface of my dining table, I realize that I am, in some ways, grateful for this slow time. Grateful to reconnect with my mom through her favorite hobby, grateful to my main collaborator, who schemes along with me each day in our joint venture, and grateful to the plants, for their dogged attempts to grow, and bloom and fruit, even in the sandy California soil. As for our future, though it all seems so uncertain, the constancy of our backyard garden, and the new life that it brings, provides a kind of tranquility and calm that I think will hold us in good stead through whatever may come.