Over a month ago, I wrote an entry about the Grow Write Guild and stated my intention to post two entries in response to the Guild’s prompts. It is now May, and I have posted nothing. I have been in a hormonal dream state for the past several weeks — my mind and time are utterly consumed with the little soul that is in my belly. Days are spent in a haze of belly rubs and drinking in the presence of a man who I have loved as my husband who I am now also loving as the father to my child. There is always time to write later and beyond the space/time that I am so enjoying right now.
In the spirit of getting started however, I thought this particularly grey and quiet morning would be a good time to start my first entry. The first prompt asks us to write about our first plant.
It is hard to remember something like this, because my father and his ancestors are gardeners. The land that I grew up on has been tended to for almost 7 generations, and so plants were always there. I learned this last year as we planted a family garden out at my parents’ home when my father spoke of our grandparents and great grandparents and so forth – what they did, what they grew. One of my relatives (great-grandfather I believe) grew fields upon fields of cucumbers for a pickle company. I thought of him as we planted rows of different vegetables that day, and so it was sort of serendipitous that as the sun set that evening we noticed there was still one tiny seedling that we forgot to plant, which turned out to be a cucumber seedling. It was the last plant to go into the soil that day.
Despite all this, I am not a wonderful gardener. Yet. I lack the work ethic of my dad and our ancestors. When the summer gets ripe and humid I give up. Which is exactly why gardening is so very important to me — I long to master the follow-through. It’s something I have always struggled with personally. Who knows why.
This brings me to my first plant, or at least the first plant I remember vividly. It was a potato plant. It was for a school project in Grade 1, which is why I think I remember it because it was gardening out of context – it was my plant completely and I was responsible for it. I filled a paper egg carton with soil and in each little egg compartment I planted a potato. This part is sort of weird to me because when I plant potatoes now, it’s always with a sprouted seed potato and definitely not true potato seed which I understand from some brief Googling is not very common to do because it is difficult. So when I was 6 years old I was planting potatoes from true seed, which I would never do now because I would kill the potato plant. Yet, when I was a small child, I did it in an egg carton and entered the seedlings into a science fair at school. When the teachers asked me what I was growing, and with a no-nonsense attitude and furrowed brow I simply responded “SPUDS”, they laughed for some reason. And I didn’t think that growing spuds was the least bit funny – it was serious business and there I was – a gardener just like my dad.
I don’t know what happened to the seedlings afterwards. I don’t remember putting them in our family garden. They were possibly forgotten about after the science fair and thrown out. I think there’s a bigger lesson in this memory though — and it’s to do each thing with the simple and unsullied passion of a child. I didn’t think about how I could have killed the seedlings, how it was deemed as difficult or a waste of time, what I was going to even do with the seedlings afterwards. I just did it. And it worked. As I mentioned, as an adult I lack follow through. And maybe the reason for that is that as adults we expect failure and forget to just take part in the pure joy of doing. The process. The moment. Who knows what other uncommon things could grow from this type of child-like activism. Anything, really.