Our garden this year has been an exercise in letting go. We got it planted (barely), finishing the corn and beans around the 20th of June (plant early corn late and you’ll get something!). Mark planted his pumpkins and squashes after that, but they were already started. We weeded a little now and then. I never did find the carrots in the quack grass and lamb’s quarter, but everything else seemed to struggle through. The garden has even rewarded us with broccoli and cabbage to freeze, one canner load of beans, corn, tomatoes, a few squash and cucumbers, as many greens as we can eat. The desirable plants may struggle a bit more in their neglected state, but they still bless us with what they were meant to give. It’s been a lesson to me on letting go of what I can’t control and living within my own limits. (There’s a moral around every cornor, eh? But I do find that nature is a willing teacher if I’m a willing learner.) This summer has had challenges with the chicken production, business training, and working with health issues. Trying to keep the garden looking like a Better Homes and Gardens fieldtrip would have been too much. I had to let go of something I’ve always seen as “my job” in order to do the other jobs I had to do well. Not that letting go was easy. It was a conscious choice that I reminded myself of regularly. Just yesterday Mark reminded me, “Corn can be bought. You don’t have to can everything out there.” Sanity is a good trade-off. Sitting with the family around the campfire instead of fussing around to get the meal done so I could work on weeding or harvesting is a priority choice. I’m sure Mary worked hard and that Martha had all the best intentions, but, for me, I have to work at having the priorities of Mary when my natural tendancy is to love like Martha through neverending work. All that to say, our garden’s done well without me and we’ve been enjoying the fruit of it’s labor.
Another reminder of how this all works is the maple sapling I found a couple of weeks ago. Four or five years ago we had a group of saplings from our sugar maple tree out front that weren’t going to grow well where they were, so I decided to transplant them. I picked a likely spot and, when the leaves were down for the year and it was safe to do so, I moved them. The next spring all three little ones put out leaves, but by the end of the summer, they didn’t look so good. I looked the next year and by summer’s end it didn’t look like any of them were going to make it. I’ve kept checking back, but had given up on them. Then, as I was moving the chicken tractor in the yard, I noticed a strange weed. On closer inspection, it turned out to be a maple leaf. That leaf was attached to a strong little sapling that was reaching above the weeds to bask in the sun. Life is about hope, isn’t it? And it’s about knowing that I can help cultivate and plant, and do my best to tend growing things, but the bottom line is that I can’t force something to grow or not. That belongs to hands bigger than mine.