As I hung up the phone with a dear friend this morning, I realize that he was right. I had told him how I'd never lived in a place that was this full of heat--not even in Virginia--how here, everything grew so quickly requiring one transplant after another, how even though this has grown expensive, the thrill of returning to new growth or to see what sprouts while I sleep, has made this process so worthwhile.
Last night, I hauled two 40+ quart bags of potting soil/compost up the landing to liberate my six tomatoes I had grown from heirloom seed from their communal container. I wondered, should I place the ones most likely to thrive in the largest pots or the ones needing the most care? In the time it took to make this decision, one of my plants began to droop significantly while the other stood tall and strong. By the time they had all been re-planted in their most immediate homes, some sunning in the sills to be given as gifts and others deep within, what I am told will be good for them (dark plastic bins, though I wish I could have afforded cedar), the wind began. Amazingly or not, I watched the one that had appeared to have separation anxiety, perk up--no doubt developing stronger roots to face the weather. M. had said, "It sounds like you're talking about romantic relationships." And I think maybe…
These past few weeks have brought a flurry of activity from exams to the acceptance of eleven poems (five from Wicked Alice, five from Toasted Cheese, and one from DIAGRAM) to the opening of my Saturday CranioSacral Therapy practice to the attempt to make space in my life for someone potentially important.
Alongside this change, my garden grows. The other day, I had my first little crop of strawberries—eight over the span of two days. As soon as they appeared somewhat red, I collected them and set them in my windowsill to ripen away from all the lovely birds, who thank God have stopped their serenading at 4:00 a.m. Amazing how much sweetness can be found in something we grow for ourselves.
Which reminds me of my favorite river and its sister stream, where I once tasted the most flavorful wild strawberries of my life. Each one, smaller than a pinky nail, bursting with more simultaneous sweet and tart than one could fill a lifetime. And in a wild berry, this is what we look for and embrace.
In life, however, I am reminded that these contrasts aren’t always so easy to take. So, I tell myself to be more like the starts I grew from seed—the ones that took a spill right after they started populating my planter. I was resisting the need to thin them out, even though they were crowding each other, because I didn’t want to choose which ones should remain. Tipping over the planter made this decision easy—but more than that, it reminded me that we all require a certain environment to grow. Some are going to take to a lower or higher pH and some may not need as much water as others, but eventually, if there is enough room and time, a little understory will develop on its own. And from that development, maybe adaptations will allow for a little more symbiosis that wasn't previously possible. Am I mixing my metaphors of science and faith? Will I ever remove my copy of Pema Chodron's Comfortable with Uncertainty from my bedside table? Not likely...
Natasha Kochicheril Moni is a writer and a licensed naturopath in WA State. Enjoying this blog? Feel free to put a little coffee in Natasha's cup, right here.