Wild Things {Crafted by the Seasons}

I learned to love wild things from my mother: mountains, forests, a late night unnecessarily rearranging household furniture and the manner of my gardening. 

I always plan to plan my garden.  Early in the season I have high expectations for how organized I will be, how much research I will do and how much more I will learn before the seeds and starts touch the soil.  I am sure I will be more ordered and more intentional than I was the year before.  But this is not the way of it. 

I often start well, I write down varieties and planting dates.  I plan for phase two.  And then slowly I drift from the plan, I spot a new variety at the garden center, I can’t help myself at the herb farm. Excitement takes over.  This year my cousin suggested potatoes and I thought, yes, at last I will try them!  And I did.  My garden becomes a mix of things I planned and those that planned for me.  And again we settle into the pattern that leads us every year, a relationship that begs me wonder, who is guiding who. 

For long periods, in Midwest garden years, my garden grows itself, watered on hot summer days by our neighbor’s daughter when we are away.  When I return my garden is wild in a new way.  It is a wild combination of things I planted and things I did not.  All of it is tall and lush and entangled.  I look at it and sigh, chiding myself a little, and then I climb inside and everything changes.  I pull and dig, my knees grow dirty and my fingernails worse.  I build big piles of things called weeds and then I stand back and look and I sigh again, this time with satisfaction.  Residing together are small weeds, previously unseen beneath the overgrowth, lush canopies shielding squash that should have been picked last week, and the first glimpse of red on a tomato.  The arugula is flowering, which means I missed its harvest, but I leave the blossoms to themselves, they are as lovely as their leaves are tasty. 

I will be a life long amateur gardener.   Maybe I enjoy the surprises too much to learn more about the details or maybe it is just not in my makeup to follow an organized plan.  I think both are true.  I have learned that my garden is a teacher, a place with more wisdom than I.  My garden has taught me that I love the freedom of process, of watching, of being a participant.  It has taught me to marvel at the power inside a tiny seed.  And it gives me a place where I reconcile with myself.  I love my garden wild.  It invites me to embrace and sometimes forgive my own wild places. 

With gratitude,


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