As I sit at my computer, if I drop my neck down, cock my head to the left and peer through the branches of the gorgeous yet massive tree outside my window I can just barely see my first attempt at a garden. Because I've either been out of town, held up by my landlord or stuck inside due to the downpour, for the past month my gardening plans had to be put on the back burner. But this weekend I finally dug up, leveled out, filled in and sowed my very first garden. Woohoo! And ever since Saturday I've felt the need to walk out and visit my garden at least once a day to make sure everything is ok as if I'm sort of overprotective mother of a 30 year old.
"Is everything OK? Is it too hot? Too sunny? Do you need water? Are the squirrels bothering you?"
...as if these plants haven't been doing this all by themselves for the past billion years or so. If anything, I'm more apt to hinder than help, but I can't not check on them. The more I think about it, the more I think gardening is a very giving hobby. Let me explain.
First off, work has been uber-stressful lately and of all the things I tried in order to relax, gardening was the only thing that worked. And by worked I mean worked. Ten minutes in I was about as stress-free as if I had been on a 2 week vacation in the Alps.
And second, there are endless resources when it comes to learning the how-to's of gardening. From books to friends to websites to entire TV channels. Everyone wants to know the secret to growing the best tomato just as everyone else wants to tell you the secret to growing the best tomato. But in the end, what do we really do? Relatively little. Sure the plants used whatever resources we gave it, be it fertilizer or pruning shears. But when you really look at it, humans saying we grow the best tomato (or spinach, or carrot, or rutabaga...which, on a side note, is THE most fun vegetable to say) is the same as your OB/GYN saying he grew a great human, when really all he did was prescribe some prenatal vitamins, tell you your child was developing nicely and then...catch. (Please note, I think OB/GYNs are a valuable part of society and this hyperbole is by no means a reflection on their expertise in the field of obstetrics).
But as we humans do all the work in creating and raising humans, plants do all the work in creating and growing plants. It's a freaking beautiful thing!! Plants grow, we take. Food, oxygen, relaxation. So I guess in the end I would like to thank plants for being plants. Clearly "The Giving Tree" is not just a children's book, it's an insightful and poignant summation of the entire human race since the dawn of time...to put it mildly. And I should also thank God for giving us plants. They are pretty to look at, lovely to smell and yummy to eat and every day I'm grateful to be in their presence.