Gardening. People who know me, or have read my book, know that my refuge is my vegetable garden. Having grown up in Wisconsin, where neighbors compare their sweet corn crops like my NYC neighbors compare their handbags, I’ve always felt pushed to grow more more more.
Brent thinks I’ve finally surpassed the size of garden that I could possibly govern all by myself. Having had two bad tomato years, I’ve decided to leave nothing to chance, and have moved my tomatoes out of the 52 raised beds and into an irrigated patch of field right next to them. This roughly doubles the size of Beekman land devoted to growing vegetables over last year. Oh, plus Farmer John and I plan on planting a field of corn as well.
I’m not sure why I feel the need to continue to expand my seeded fiefdom. We had plenty of frozen and canned bounty from last year to hold us through the winter. This year, I’m not sure what I’ll do with it all. Maybe I’ll bring more into the office to give away. Maybe we’ll give out pickled beets to all our friends for Christmas. (Lucky them.) Some may go to the American Hotel restaurant. And some may go to the pigs.
I guess I’ve never gotten over the sheer magic of it all. That one small box full of packets that came in the middle of January will end up as bushels and bushels and bushels of produce over the next five months. It’s alchemy….that tastes good.
Gardening is as close to playing God as it gets in this lifetime. While I can’t control what my advertising clients say or do, or if Polka Spot stays inside the fence, and I certainly can’t control Brent, I can pretty much decide if a carrot lives or dies. (They mostly live. Except for the thinning.)
I have to believe there’s a reason that the Bible begins in a garden. I’m certainly no Fundamentalist, but as a writer, I tend to admire any book that’s remained on the bestseller lists for two millennium. I don’t think many people consider why the (A)uthor(s) chose to kick things off in a garden vs, oh, say, The Shopping Mall of Eden. But it makes perfect sense to me.
Because the most miraculous stories in the world aren’t about unrequited love, or war & peace, or even coming back to life after a short stint in the heavens.
The greatest stories of all are about magically making something out of nothing. And even if I write a thousand books, they will never be as impressive as a single bean sprout.