April 15, 2011: At peace with… rose bushes, tender seedlings, a Rototiller and the earth, by Martha Carlson

April 15, 2011 by

This year my dad has decided to get a head start on his “Armageddon Garden” to fight the rising cost of, well, everything.

As every year before, he stocked up on seeds (because we lost the ones from last year), bought a few fruit trees and berry bushes (because the ones from last year died), caught up the chance to get new gardening implements (the ones from last year vanished like left socks in a dryer), and even bought a super cool Rototiller to tame the weeds that took over last year!

Since we own another plot of land, roughly half an acre, we decided to turn most of it into the garden.  We’ll be totally self-sufficient!  At least, that’s the plan. We’ll just have to see, won’t we?

I’ve always loved gardening.  Pretty little flowers in a pretty little circle on a pretty little hill next to a pretty little house—you know, a girl’s pretty little dream.

Truth is, I like to ram into a rose bush and wrestle with pruning, emerging triumphant with the scars from a million thorns; or to dig into the soft earth, wriggling with worms, to transplant an exotic flower and pokey, but beautiful, red pine. It takes work, a good deal of elbow grease and a keen awareness to everything around.

Whether you’re out digging up tubers or even just picking out grass shoots with the sun on your back and sweat rolling down your face, you can’t help but start ranting in your mind about anything. You rant at first about how everything aches, then you rant about the latest gossip and family issues never resolved, or how so-and-so did this with so-and-so. A shower sounds better and better every minute.

After a while your mind stops talking and you become aware of the woodpeckers in the tree next door and the flashing scarlet of a red cardinal in the field off to the side. You notice that the colors are richer here than even your HD television can match.  All is silent, yet still buzzing with an array of various voices from the birds in the sky to the insects tediously digging in the ground. Then finally, with a crick in the small of your back and a rub of blistered hands, you’re done.

At first, nothing seems to grow. Just an empty lot with ragged lines in the dirt where you painstakingly pushed in beans, corn kernels, tomato seeds and so on. In fact, the only sign of life is the steadily advancing grass…

But wait! What’s that? A shoot! You feel the same elation as the day of your graduation—something’s started!

Of course, the weeds bring an angry opposition by choking out your meticulously made garden patch, but as long as you push back, those seedlings grow. Before you know it, those seedlings are full-grown plants waving in the breeze, almost ready to flower.

The garden blooms and you reap what you’ve sown, all those delicious veggies and fruits making you laugh in remembrance of how hard it took just to get them to grow. Eventually, they die away and you feel almost sad that it ends so soon. But you have seeds, and you still have the garden and the tools.

Peace with creation: that’s gardening. Like life, you reap what you sow, and once you’re at peace with what’s being sown, you’ll be content when you reap. I’ll just have to remember that once Dad gets the Rototiller started and I find the trowel.

— Martha Carlson is a senior at Concordia High School.  She is the daughter of Matthew and Paula Carlson.

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