It doesn’t matter how many decades I’ve been doing it.
Every single year, when I plant vegetable seeds
the size of a pin head into soil
I am mesmerized and astonished when they sprout.
Some are tenderly nursed along indoors
establishing some roots before they are set in the garden–
exposed, then, to elements
that both hinder and encourage their growth.
Others, when the danger of frost has likely passed
are planted outside directly.
These are the ones that especially take my breath away.
So small and light, they would not register on a postal scale
even if they were they were all combined.
And yet, with a little water and some sunshine, they emerge.
Fragile and paper thin at first, they get hearty in a hurry.
And in a couple month’s time, they are robust and generous
filling bellies, tables, freezers, and dehydrators.
And so it is with this year, too.
Delicate seeds placed on tilled earth
sprinkled with a thin layer of soil and a little water.
Awaiting the miracle, checking every day.
And then the rains came.
Ferocious and harsh
pounding the bare dirt of the garden.
Wind and water coming down too fast to be absorbed.
The dogs and I watch breathlessly from windows
as the puddles become pools in the garden.
Only time will tell if those tiny seeds managed, somehow,
to stay underground or float and re-plant themselves.
It’s an oddly familiar feeling, watching all of this–
that blend of what we can control and what we can’t.
Feelings swaying from dismay to grudging admiration
for the terrible beauty we live with each day.
If we’re smart, we’ll set our roots deeply
where the soil is fertile and welcoming.
And do our best to flex and bend
when fierce winds come our way
or harsh rains beseech us to plant ourselves
again and perhaps again after that.
It’s our best chance, though, for growth and goodness
when we are toughened up a bit from the shake downs
and made more generous by the sunshine that follows.