How Does Your Garden Grow?
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.