I tore up the garden and vast chunks of the yard yesterday. Well. Okay, technically, I tore up the garden *two* days ago, and two “flowerbeds” yesterday, then had His Nibs go and tear up a third bed. At the garden shop yesterday I was choosing seed potatoes and getting stakes for the peas and I wandered through row after row of perennial and annual flowering plants, and I thought, “why would I spend my money on something that looks pretty but which doesn’t produce any food?”
Then I thought for a while about the millions of people who would literally climb over a stack of corpses to plant a single bean in the kind of soil we have in our yard in this climate. Then I thought about beans for a while, and debated whether I should plant some runner beans. Then I saw a Castor Bean plant and thought how pretty (and DEADLY) the leaves are. Then I thought about how many things there are that are both beautiful and totally destructive. Then I thought about being in my 20s. Then I thought about bonemeal.
So I brought home some little plants and some seed potatoes and some chicken wire to stake the peas, and I dug in.
My father, who is a farmer (he’s also a teacher) says it’s important for children to grow up knowing that everything has a cycle. That everything has a beginning and an end. He says that when you watch something move through its entire life cycle every year, you learn something that a lot of people miss. (Which isn’t to say they’re stupid or incapable of figuring things out, but just that it’s not something they pay attention to.)
It’s kind of intangible, I think, this whole cyclical thing, even though it’s also completely tangible.
My father says that knowing that everything has a beginning and and end helps when things are really bad. That no matter how long the crap lasts, there *will* be an end to it. That when things are good, you need to focus on enjoying them. I mean, it’s entirely simple, and I think entire cultures have based their religious beliefs on these sorts of principles. It’s not a new idea.
The other important thing, he says, is that when you work hard, when you sweat and ache and turn around and see what you’ve accomplished, it just reinforces that you’re capable of so much.
So I stood in the yard, in the rain, loving the warmth of the rain and the smell of the summer, putting chicken wire between my rows of peas, and I thought of all the work I’d put into the garden, and even though it’s not quite as much as I *should* have done, it felt good. My garden is in (with the exception of two rows of peas – the seed is still soaking), and it looks awesome.