A garden is a promise.
Planting the seeds, the bulbs, the trees, or the seedlings, a gardener promises, "I'll be here to harvest this land." And while sometimes the garden or the gardener fails, when plants are planted, there is hope for renewal; hope for the long term.
This weekend I spent hours in my garden. I cut back the grape vines, the blackberry bushes, the tomatoes. I pulled out the cucumbers, the green beans, the dusty blueberries. I trimmed my espalied apple tree, noting the new growth.
Then, I planted mums in an explosion of rust, orange, and white. I cleared away bolted herbs and re-planted sage, basil, and lettuce. I cleaned the dirty paverstones and then, planted dozens of hyacinths in an area I've traditionally used for squash. As I pushed each bulb into the earth, I felt a twinge of melancholy.
The odds are, by the time those hyacinths poke their heads above the soil, by the time the sweet peas, bachelor buttons, and cosmos struggle to the surface of the earth, by the time my apple tree, grape vines, and blackberries sprout new shoots, I'll have moved.
The writing has been on the wall for a while now. In a way, I'm a little excited about starting fresh in a town closer to where I work. In a way, I'll be glad to have a landlord to call when the toilet runs, when the garage door doesn't go down, or when the kitchen sink drips.
But I'll be so sad to see my garden go.
I know I'll garden where ever I land. I've already bought containers in preparation.
I know I'll be happy with whatever space I can find to dig my hands into the deep, dark earth.
Still...I'm going to miss this garden, this space. I'm going to miss the possibilities. I'm going to miss seeing my apple tree bear fruit, my grapes produce clusters, and picking sun warmed blackberries off the vine in the fading summer light.
Last weekend I made a promise I know I'll break.
Maybe, just maybe, it was to leave a little part of me behind in a place that has helped me heal.
14 hours ago