If you have ever planted a garden before, then reaping the rewards of its ‘Earthly’ goodness is no news to you. After being around gardens my whole life and planting our very first one together last year, there is no doubt about the high that comes from watching something grow out of what appears to be nothing to begin with. The idea that a measly seed, often only a couple of millimetres long, a spindly sprout or an unsightly bulb can yield such beautiful, bountiful results is nothing short of amazing. All placed carefully in the soil with a hopeful dousing of water, sunlight and, if lucky, extra nutrients so that they–the seeds, sprouts, and bulbs–can break through the Earth’s surface and realize their full potential.
Watching and waiting for some kind of growth, is perhaps, on a smaller scale, comparable to the anticipation that comes with being a parent. And, when the first sprig of green wriggles its way up to the top of the earth to be seen by all, there is no doubt an immediate sense of relief and success combined for the gardener, especially first-timers like ourselves. The beginning wave of peas, hill of potatoes or ear of corn leaves you reporting their progress to others, whether or not friends/family are interested, much like showing newborn pictures on your I-Phone. Instead, it goes something like this: “Hey, did you know that our carrots came up today? I can’t believe that the potato tubers took root. I wonder if the slugs will be back this year.” All words familiar and revered to those of us who garden, but dreaded to those who are left feeling like they are stuck watching one’s home movies all over again, at the risk of aging myself with such a phrase. Maybe I should change that last one to watching vacation clips located on one’s Google drive to sound more hip in this day and age. Either way, those of us who love the feel of dirt beneath our fingernails clearly differ from those who visit the local beauty salons. Not that each doesn’t value the Earth and what it has to offer, just that they tend do it in their own way.
So, what is the draw to having to bend over for hours, battle mosquitoes, yank pesky weeds, hill, thin, coddle, risk sunburn and be subjected to undying thirst that appeals to us?! Well, the answer to that can be nothing short of ‘being one with the earth’. There is definitely something literally and figuratively ‘grounding’ about the soil’s searing heat or strange coolness, its gritty texture or fine grounds encompassing your fingers and nailbeds, where remants often lurk, washing after washing. A proud badge, so to speak. And, when the time finally comes to pick, dig or pluck something off of its rooting system, it is surely euphoric! To plate and enjoy the taste of the Earth’s produce cared for by your very own hands? Quite simply it is the most pure and scrumptious cuisine that will ever adorn your tongue, be it bitter or sweet, crunchy or soft. ‘Oooh, I can hardly wait!’ Carrots, peas, onions, corn, watermelon and cucumbers, here we come. All that we ask is that Mother Earth herself cooperate and provide all of the sunshine and rain needed to yield her son’s crop.