Tuesday, July 20, 2010

First Harvest

Ah, the beauty of summer! It is in the garden, for sure. A new venture for us, growing veggies, and it is already proving to be a most exciting responsibility. Exciting responsibility? Really? It struck me today as I crawled around on my hands and knees between the rows, picking fists-full of cilantro and fragrant basil, a shiny red pepper, a few gorgeous yellow pear tomatoes, and some pungent radishes -- every creation, every new endeavor is ripe with responsibility. But it is also abundant in its rewards.

With the new house last fall came the delicious opportunity for my inaugural vegetable garden this summer. Now I've been known to let the daily maintenance of things fall by the wayside if I have other, more intriguing interests to pursue. So as the cool of the spring gave way to longer days and a warmer sun, I wasn't thinking about responsibility. I was thinking about creating a masterpiece and getting those cute little seedlings into the ground. Weeding? Watering? And eventually harvesting and processing the garden's bounty?

Well, I figured, there had to be a garden before there could be a bounty to worry about. First things first. I managed to get most of the plants in the ground fairly early in the season. Gratefully, Mother Nature has lent me a helping hand in the watering department...thank you! But weeding and harvesting is another story.

I could have been meticulous with keeping the weeds down, bringing my inner perfectionist into play. After all, it was my first garden...shouldn't it look pretty? I must admit, I did go into this adventure with that fantasy. I imagined myself out in the garden every afternoon, putzing around, pulling weeds, whistling while I worked. Of course, I didn't realize I had this expectation about the garden until my back went out shortly after waging war on the buckthorn starts in our newly acquired woods. As I lay resting and healing, as days turned to weeks, the weeds in the garden got thick and unruly.

Knowing weeding was out of the question and that I didn't want the garden I had hoped for for so many years to go to seed, I got creative...I cut up big paper sacks to lay between the rows. Pretty? Not so much. But it got the job done. With my new endeavor came the responsibility to keep it up. There was no rule book that said how it needed to happen. Left to my own devices, I was my own expert, my own teacher. To maintain my creation in my partnership with Mother Nature, I needed to do my part...however I could.

So today, with a healthier back, I reap the first of many harvests from our backyard oasis and look forward to homemade pizza with pesto and tomatoes and peppers for dinner. As I create anew in my kitchen from the bounty of the garden, I can't help but wonder -- how often do we set aside the risk of a new undertaking because we are afraid it will be too much work? Because we aren't sure where to begin, or worse yet, how to maintain our vision?

What I know for sure is that the responsibility inherent in living a creative life full of risks and new adventures never tasted so good!//