One of the things that I just did not get around to doing this spring/summer was planting my vegetable garden. I don’t have a very big one, and last summer was my first attempt at growing vegetables in-ground as opposed to just herbs and tomatoes in pots on the deck. It was small and relatively successful with just a few crops to get me started: tomatillos, cilantro, some lettuces and something else that I can’t quite remember.
Once everything had been harvested (or picked, I suppose, since I’m not exactly using a combine or anything) I immediately began making plans for the next year’s garden. By about January I had some plans in place – expand the existing garden, add an herb garden along the side, investigate other veggies to grow, definitely include cherry tomatoes in pots on the deck – excitement!
Then of course by the beginning of April my mother became quite sick, and by the first week of May she was gone. Spring ran right into summer, and there were plans to make and lawyers to meet with, and bills to pay and a house to clean out and sell. And gardening? Well, I’m not going to say I didn’t think about it. I did. Daily. It’s actually, strangely, part of what has kept me going during these sad months. It’s just that I didn’t have the time or the energy to devote to even sticking a tomato plant in a pot. I just didn’t. I have gazed wistfully at my overgrown garden every single day. Sometimes it makes me sad to see it so neglected, but in other ways it’s been so helpful to keeping me grounded. Just seeing it there, knowing that I will indeed get back to it as soon as I can, and knowing that I can pick up where I left off, revisit my plans, make additions, changes and ultimately enjoy both the gardening process and the fruits (or, rather veggies) of my labour.
I guess in some ways I see it as a metaphor for what I’ve been going through: sad neglected garden =missing my mum, all the depression and sadness of the past few months vs. loooking ahead to new garden = moving on with things, while still remembering the past, keeping her memory alive. It might seem corny I suppose, but there it is. My mum was an exceptional gardener – vegetables and flowers – so there’s that. She’s the one who taught me to garden, to get excited by sprouts and seed catalogues and garden centres in the dead of winter and the first big garden clean-up of the year when your hands still froze because the soil wasn’t quite warm enough yet, but you could feel it in your bones that you just had to get out there.
So the excitement is back. The sadness and depression and the anger (yep, there’s still a whole lot of that) is still there, of course. But even though it’s fall and it’s going to be a long winter, because it always is, spring will come again – both realistically and metaphorically. And with spring comes all the planning and choosing and digging and planting and eating and enjoying.