Bea at garden plotWe’re learning our lessons in patience early. Even though we are a bit further along than this photo suggests, we have only just begun. Our large, rugged garden plot proved to be too rough for our neighbor’s lovely Clydesdales to drag. So, while we waited for the sun to dry out the ground so it could be ploughed or tilled or whatever phase of the process comes next, we planted tiny seeds in some starters and let them emerge in my mother’s climate-controlled kitchen before transplanting them to the large plot.
Bea, my two-year-old daughter, loves our garden—the size of it, the feel of it, the idea of what it will hold. Her yellow gloves and trowel and hoe only add to the suspense that precedes an inevitable harvest. She has no idea just how long this is going to take. And my hunch is…neither do we. In the meantime, Bea gardens on the computer at the library. The interactive program involves Dora the Explorer’s house, where Bea can choose the type of seed she wants to plant and add fertilizer and water until it springs up. Then she adds the fertilizer and water again, and the sprout becomes a full grown plant. She enjoys doing this over and over again on the computer in preparation for real life. She did help plant seeds in the starters at my mother’s house and watched the sprouts come up.
I am hopeful that the seemingly massive portion of earth we uncovered will yield itself to our care and bring forth fruit in due season, in predictable cycles on a relatively consistent basis. What can I say: I’m a product of my 21st Century American adolescence. The waiting is hard, and I am constantly surprised by how dependent this plot must be upon the conditions of the weather and the support of so many wiling people to get it prepared to even accept the seeds.
So, each day we tell the story of our garden. Five generations daydream and discuss the luscious crops that we will eventually consume and the widely-spaced rows we have arranged to keep weeding to a minimum. Bea continues to plant her flowers on the computer game at the library with my mom and virtually waters the pixilated foliage until brilliant colors burst forth in the images of roses or tulips or carrots, presumably. I expect to get a good tan this summer—draped in a tank-top, weeding fervently and developing my own special techniques like an expert from whom Martha Stewart herself would be proud to take advice. For now, we keep tilling away. And the plot thickens.
–Haley McCoy