Yesterday while I was working in the Grow Appalachia garden, something clicked for me.

I’ve been out in the garden a few other times, and the experience is always a pleasant one, but this time, everything felt so invigorating and meditative.

Normally, I’m hiking through the rows of vegetables, trailing behind my superiors and listening intently as they chat about the benefits of spinosad insecticide or the perks of planting a wallflower instead of being one. (Maybe I misheard them there.) There’s a million pieces of information to absorb, and every sliver of insight I gather presupposes all these overlapping bodies of knowledge that I lack and raises more questions, the most prominent being:


I sit outside these spheres of knowledge, smiling obliviously. This diagram would also be appropriate for my relationship to artistic talent.

I often feel like Neo from The Matrix. (I know that this sort of cultural allusion is a little atypical for Grow Appalachia’s blog posts, but hey, a good garden has diverse crops.) Instead of pirouetting between bullets in slow motion, I find myself dancing in a hail of turnips and cucumber seeds. I am wielding scuffle hoes and pushing seeders, which is odd and empowering, since the tools that I am most familiar are forks, spoons, and knives. Whatever else can be said about gardening, it can be overwhelming for a newcomer.

Yesterday, all of my knowledge absorption felt worthwhile once I saw the fruits of my labor—or at least the sprouts of my labor. One garden visit ago, I had pushed the seeder around and spread some fertilizer, all the while questioning the health of my spine. Now, little corn sprouts have popped up in the same place where I watered the ground with my sweat–a phrase that I wish I could say was a little more metaphorical. After seeing my abstract knowledge made alive, I felt a renewed sense of confidence with the rest of my work for the day. I tidied up around the corn and weeded the rows of gladiolus, a flower that resembles a sword when it’s first sprouting, which I’m assuming is how it was named and which I’m also assuming is awesome, because my inner-child will always love swordplay.

My favorite part of the day was when I planted by hand these beautiful-looking cucumber seeds—cool blue seeds that resembled cartoon raindrops against the lines of my plant. They seemed so vibrant and full of life, and I really look forward to seeing how they develop upon my next garden visit.