I spent a long weekend in Upstate New York, neglecting the seeds and everything they promised for a long, rainless stretch of days. When I got back to Missouri, two of the hanging plants outside of our house had shriveled into themselves.
“It’s a bad omen!” I moaned to Jon. “I’m a failure!”
He doesn’t pander to my self-pity. “Take care of your shit,” he said. “Don’t kill the plants.” And laughed. As though it was funny.
So begrudgingly, I returned to the fields, fully expecting the brown rows barren, and any hopeful seedlings laying flat on their backs and sides. Plant cemetery.
But life surprises. And against the odds, life unfurls.
It’s dumb and cliche to talk about a plant’s tenacity, but I will. Nothing died. They just went on without me.
It was amazing to walk the rows, part the grass to find tiny seedlings edging their way up. The corn was the most obvious up and upper — bright green, proud, firm even against the gusting wind. But there were the beans, too, and the cucumbers, and the squash, the zucchini, and even the bright frills of bok choy and kale.
How does something as tiny as a bean sprout, narrower than my pinky finger, find the strength to push aside rocks, to burst out of the ground, out of the darkness, and move toward the light?
It takes faith, I guess. And a long weekend.