Every spring I plant a garden. And every year nothing grows. Ok so a couple of things “grow” if you want to call it that, but nothing even remotely impressive- or worth my effort of planting. One year I got a few snow peas, a couple of tomatoes and a weirdly shaped cucumber. Nothing from my lettuce, peppers or watermelon. Another year I planted strawberries, but whenever they would get close to being red- some little creature would get to them first and eat big chunks out of them. My blueberry bushes apparently didn’t cross pollinate so I would get blooms but absolutely no berries. I had some success with chives, but really? Chives? Chives alone do not make a gardener.
My husband finds endless entertainment in my attempts at growing food. When I present him with a bounty of a single thumb-sized eggplant he’ll tease me about what that eggplant actually cost when you add up what we (he) spent on the raised bed, soil, seeds etc. I don’t think it’s funny. And I don’t know where I’m going wrong, but if my family had to self-sustain off the “land”, we would all die.
Every year I plant and water and hope and every year I am disappointed. But the crazy thing is- when spring rolls around again I get all giddy and start planting false hopes into the hearts of my children as we are driving to Pike’s nursery. I describe to them the sweet fruits and colorful veggies that we will get to enjoy all summer and I even let them pick out what they want to plant. My kids get half of their crazy from me so they go along with it. We break ground together in the sun and plant our garden that we’re pretty sure isn’t going to grow. But we have hope. Silly signs-of-spring induced hope.
I clearly don’t know much about gardening but I do know one thing: If you plant NOTHING, you get NOTHING. Every time. So, every spring I’ll take my delusional crew to Pike’s and choose my seeds and seedlings carefully. I’ll ask questions so I can maybe this year will be better than the last. And when those couple of snap peas grow, we’ll out go outside to do the happy dance and chew them very, very slowly.
When my efforts in life don’t bring me the results that I want I can choose to be upset or I can choose to keep planting. I can smile at the small sprouts and shoots and do a happy dance when I have something to show for all my hard work. Even if it is small. I have found that most of the work of life is not-giving-up work, that begins with a seed of hope. Hope that whispers, “Try again”, and “Next time will be better.”
When we stop hoping, something in us dies. We aren’t promised positive outcomes and guaranteed results. But we are given a new chance every time we ask for it. A new freshly tilled heart and a seed of hope. To dream and care for and nourish. With each attempt we grow-even if it is just a little. You are not responsible for the outcome. Be hopeful. Be crazy enough to plant again. And again. Maybe nothing grows. But more than likely something will grow- even if it is only chives. That’s a start.