The snails ate my fledgling Black Brandywine tomato to a nub again, the second one to succumb. I pulled the parched, already browning stem remainder from the soil. The roots below were still pristine, fanned out like coral in what can only be called life. An intricate display or pronouncement of circuitous paths seeking in the soil for sustenance.
What is it that roots do? Which of my roots will I honor? Where will they reach? Will I allow them to search, to take me where I need to go? To draw nourishment from the soil that is my life, my past? Will I allow them to seek, to push forward, and down, into the depths? Or will I continue to block them? Will I care for the seedling that is my growth, my development? Or will I continue to forget, to neglect, to water sporadically and shallowly?
The pandemic has allowed me to finally, after years of waiting to “be a gardener” to… well, be a gardener. Or, at least, to garden.
You see what I did there, though, don’t you? The hesitance to call myself a gardener just as I hesitate to call myself a writer. But, I don’t have a book, I say. I can’t be a writer. I’m not published. I can’t be a writer. I’m not a “real” writer.
Just as I don’t have a palace of Versailles garden tumbling and beckoning out my back door, I do not have the accolades of a “writer.” Yet, I write. I feel more myself when I write than I do at any other time. I want to honor this. Just as I replace the Brandywine for a third time in the soil, careful to sprinkle Sluggo around the surface, I must put pen to paper.