Perspective: Lessons from the Dirt

SPRING IS SUCH a hopeful time. We put plants and seeds in the ground. We water them. Sometimes we talk to them. 

Like many gardeners, my husband and I try new things, new plants, new locations. By the time you read this, Tommy and I will have picked a spot for this year’s tomato experiment. 

The backyard of our home in leafy Plaza Midwood gets just enough sun to tantalize us. In the place we had hoped to put a garden, the tomatoes shriveled and died the first few years. So did our dreams of duplicating the thriving vegetable garden we grew at our previous home in the Derita area. There, our summer meals were often fresh from the garden. We grew enough yellow squash to eat, freeze, and give away. I canned green beans twice a week one summer, and we still laugh about the time we picked 100 tomatoes in one day and spent hours chopping, saucing, and freezing them. 

Disappointment may be on the horizon again, but the rewards are just too great to give up. 

We watch as the sun chases away the willow oak tree’s shade in the morning, and we watch as the pecan tree’s shade chases the sun away in the afternoon. After lugging potted tomatoes around for 10 years, we have our eyes on a corner of the front yard where two potted plants thrived last year. 

The sunshine we seek is a moving target that forces us to adjust our plans. I wonder if our vines will get the elusive eight hours of sun required for actual tomatoes.

This year we’ll plant with our usual hope, and try to learn from our mistakes. Gardening is like that.

So is life. 

Categories: In Print, The Buzz