The First Lesson of Gardening
The first lesson I learned from my garden (yes, we’re still talking about my tiny one pot garden) was that there is no magical recipe.
This is my lot in life. To learn this lesson over and over again. There is no perfect. There is no syllabus, and even if there were a syllabus, there are real life pop quizzes and long-form answers, and critical thinking questions that are just about you gathering all the inner knowledge and squeezing it out at a moment’s notice.
Intuition, why you play me like that? Always making me listen to you..
I was sitting at a bar with a guy friend about six years ago, telling him about my last big breakup. We were drinking dirty martinis, like you do when you’re 25 and feeling invincible and grown up AF. I told him about how after that break up I was so wounded, and not in the typical “I hate and distrust all men” kind of way. I no longer felt like I was good at picking guys, and felt nervous to even go on dates.
He casually looked over at me and said, “So you lost trust in yourself, not men.”
I looked back silently with saucer eyes.
“And that’s way worse.” He added, again, so casually.
And that was the day I realized that trust in my intuition was what I had lost. I kept telling myself that I didn’t know what to do, or what was right, or who was who, and I continued to make poor choices with guys who just weren’t a fit, so I was DOING LIFE WRONG, and it was all a mess.
And I was right. I refused to listen to my gut (that’s doing life wrong, if you ask me), because it had been so off and so deceived. Though like everyone’s mother (mine included) will tell you: I knew deep down that things weren’t right. And I ignored it. I turned myself against myself and didn’t do the hard work of tuning in to my intuition and following it through thick and thin.
So here I am in my garden, and my tomatoes are droppy. It looks like my tomato plant’s cat died, he’s that sad. So, I’m calling my dad and sending photos.
“Your plant needs water, Bailey.”
“Yeah I was thinking that,” I replied. “But the lady at Home Depot told me it only needed water every few days, and I don’t want to over-water it. I've heard you can over water”
The soil was bone dry and it was just very clear that lack of water was the issue. I felt dumb as I was saying it, and knew what he’d follow with.
“Well she’s wrong, and most tomatoes need water daily – even just a little. Just play with it. You’ll get the hang of it.” Dad’s know everything.
Of course gardening is like all things in life – unique to each situation. Different depending on the conditions. Variable. You have to work at it, test things, and build up some good old fashioned intuition.
And that is what makes it magical and rewarding and peaceful and perplexing, but again, rewarding. The hard work makes it worth something.
I now have a surviving and fairly healthy tomato plant. Most days he looks happy and the fruit is starting to ripen, which has me absolutely giddy with anticipation. I can't help but think about my marriage, which some days still feels young and new at only two and half years. Thank God for that last break up, my dodgy gut feelings, and the honing of my instincts - it all led me to Joe.
It's all about adjusting and testing. Over and over for infinity. The end. Learn to love it!
Some days all we need is a little extra water, and as each day passes we ripen. Tilling our patterns and turning us over season after season, planting and harvesting for decades to come, we are just a big ol' garden.
Cheesy garden marriage analogy for the win.