How Does Your Gar­den Grow?

Northern Pen - - FRONT PAGE - Ed Smith The View From Here

OH and Num­ber One Son are gar­den­ing this evening.

It’s in­ter­est­ing to watch. At this time of year all plants are in pots and must be moved from the floor of my study, (which is ad­ja­cent to the green­house, which is on the deck), to the deck and back from the deck to the green­house to the study de­pend­ing on the tem­per­a­ture, the amount of sun­light and the kind of plant and the time of day.

If you think that’s con­fus­ing and com­pli­cated and con­vo­luted, think of poor son. Most of those pots weigh 50 pounds, and those you have to wrap both arms around to lift, a lot more. Son is the vol­un­teer con­scripted labour.

“Okay, Mom, which one did you say to put where?... Way over there? ...

But I al­ready moved that one out by the faucets. ... Okay.... Put the Sweet Mil­lion toma­toes... Why?... Oh, the sun just went be­hind a cloud... This rot­ten kelp re­ally stinks... Mom, I gotta take a spell.”

For­tu­nately, son is no 90 pound weak­ling so af­ter the first five min­utes he gets more or less used to the heavy work and the clar­ity of di­rec­tions. And the com­bined smell of rot­ten kelp, rot­ten horse ma­nure and sweat.

As I think back to my own days of in­volve­ment in the seed­time and har­vest rou­tine, I’m al­most sorry for my favourite son. I know what he’s go­ing through. The only sav­ing grace for him is that mos­qui­toes ap­pear on our deck as the rate of roughly one ev­ery spring and one ev­ery sum­mer.

There are sev­eral the­o­ries be­ing bandIed around to ex­plain this phe­nom­e­non. Some say it’s be­cause the deck is high off the ground and open to the breezes waft­ing in from the northeast. My own be­lief is that mos­qui­toes can­not take the com­bined states stench of of rot­ten kelp, rot­ten horse ma­nure, rot­ten grass clip­pings and hu­man sweat. What­ever, we have the God-gift of be­ing able to re­lax on our deck with­out be­ing tor­mented by those pesky lit­tle varmints that cause so much misery in the world from malaria to zika.

Any­way I said “al­most”. As I watch my son labour away in the vine­yards of his mother, my ma­jor thought was, there but for the grace of God go I.

Son was not alone in his work. De­spite the crip­pling ef­fects of rheuma­toid arthri­tis, OH not only does her bit phys­i­cally, but also car­ried the ad­di­tional bur­den of com­mand. She has to make the de­ci­sions, mod­ify de­ci­sions, change her mind and some­times make com­plete re­ver­sals in op­er­a­tions.

The or­di­nary re­cruit doesn’t al­ways un­der­stand why cer­tain de­ci­sions are made at the high com­mand level.. I never do see out and out re­bel­lion, but I

think this has more to do with the per­sonal re­la­tion­ship be­tween the worker and the com­mand­ing of­fi­cer rather than any iron­clad chain of com­mand.

I, of course, am not just idling my time away as this col­umn elo­quently tes­ti­fies. I am think­ing of the many metaphor­i­cal lay­ers of mean­ing in what is un­fold­ing be­fore me on my deck.

Rais­ing toma­toes is much like rais­ing chil­dren. You plant the seed and hope for the best. Okay, there might be a lit­tle more to it in both cases. If you get a batch of bad seed, no amount of work or at­ten­tion will help it grow. Some peo­ple say the same is true of chil­dren. Oth­ers will ar­gue that chil­dren are not veg­etable seeds they are prod­ucts of their en­vi­ron­ment. That with proper care and nur­ture any child can over­come most dif­fi­cul­ties.

And if a child is born with that in­ex­pli­ca­ble “some­thing”, she will rise above poor par­ent­ing and a neg­a­tive en­vi­ron­ment to be­come as an adult what she has al­ways been as a child “spe­cial”.

Chil­dren are not veg­etable seeds, they are a spe­cial cre­ation.

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