Gardening is in my blood. I grew up among the rows of flowers, fruits, and vegetables my parents grew. Hiding between cornrows or behind massive tomato plants. My sister and I would take rocks and search plant leaves for potato bugs, squishing them to help ensure the harvest. When my dad wasn’t working in the summer, he was gardening. The yard was (and still is,) his pleasure and joy. My mother’s too. They tag team the planting and care, spending a few days each fall in the kitchen canning the harvest. I remember walking into the kitchen mid-salsa making and my nose would fill with the delicious scent of jalapeno spice, onions, and tomatoes. We went through quarts of salsa each month. We’d put it on everything.
And my Grandma Judy . . . Oh, grandma Judy. Boy did she love flowers. She had the most stunning floral garden. It was messy, with no rows or delineation. It was more English cottage-looking and wild. In short, it was simply glorious. I remember waking up at her house and stepping outside while the dew was still dripping from the petals. All you could smell were peonies, lilacs, wild roses, and a multitude of other delicious, sweet scents. And her wind chimes. She loved them and had about 10 swaying in the breeze on her porch. She liked the good ones too. Not ones that clanked together like tin-can metal. Her’s sang with the sweet song of musical notes.
I can still close my eyes when I hear a good chime and be transported to her porch. I see her hanging baskets filled with wave petunias, dripping down the sides reaching almost to the floor. She’s there, rocking on her front porch, waving at the car that just honked as her friend drove by. The breeze pulls lose a few petals from the roses along the fence, and they drift to the ground like pink snow.
Thinking about the beauty of it all, and also missing her, brings tears to my eyes.
So you see . . . I have a lot to live up to. I have a lot I want to recreate. To emulate.
And so I stare at my blank garden, which took days to carve out from the thick, Tennessee soil. And I’m nervous. Nervous to plant, afraid what I sow won’t come up. And also sad, sad that it will take years to get to where I desire my gardens and yard to be. To an extent I am excited, there is something about starting from nothing. Creating life where before there were simply weeds. But more than excited, I’m impatient.
In this whole journey of moving, I think what’s being pressed upon me the most is, that it’s okay to feel all the emotions. Happy, yet sad. Grieving, and also very blessed. I’m accepting the waves as they come. Some days they come crashing in, slamming me into a wall, leaving me gasping for breath. Other days, it’s ripples of soft water, lapping at my feet, washing away the sand between my toes, requiring me to find balance again.
It’s a process. I’m not fighting it. Instead, I’m acknowledging each feeling as it comes, and working through it as best I can.
And so my friends, I square my shoulders, grab a shovel, a packet of seeds, and head out into the piles of dirt I call my garden. I’ll plant each seed carefully, prayerfully, with anticipation for mouth watering fruits and vegetables, and sweet scents from swaying flowers. And I’ll lean into the hope that soon, tiny green leggy plants with push their way up through the soil, and I’ll be a little closer to achieving my garden dreams and goals.
Happy gardening friends.