Mothering itty bitty vegetables from seed to harvest has been a strange desire on my bucket list for years. Carrots, with their knobby roots and wild stems, have always been a particular fancy of mine.
Every summer I fantasize of the satisfaction that must follow yanking one of those stubborn vegetables from the ground. I imagine firmly gripping each bushy stalk and giving a good tug, then brushing away the earth to find a whole carrot.
There it would be, revealed for the first time, dangling from its stem and from my hands. It would be perfect in all of its little blemishes and strange bumps, in all of its slight imperfections. It would be a small miracle.
Just a few weeks ago, I took some steps to fulfill this dream. Nestled safely in my arms, I carried my seeds and rake to the yard. I plowed the dirt until it was dark and rich, then drew my finger into the soil and made neat rows to plant. The seeds were poured out of each little envelope, delicately cascading into place before being patted over with dirt. The thirsty seeds were given water.
Through this process I am learning about gardening, but also about life. The way we tend to our gardens can teach us how to tend to our passions, to our huge life dreams.
We care for the soil before we even touch the seeds; we lay a foundation that can support life. We churn the soil and uproot all that hinders. We remove rocks and barriers. Using our hands to break up the clumps, we prime the land where our seeds will grow. We painstakingly lay each seed into its proper place. We water our seeds daily – not very much nor all at once, but water spread out over a multitude of days and weeks. We train ourselves to be faithful stewards of what we’ve been given. For, it is this small and mundane work that will, over time, reap us a reward. It is the culmination of many events that causes a seed to sprout.
Likewise, it takes diligence and patience to grow our great dreams. To go from seed to fruit overnight would be far too overwhelming. So, we plant our dreams and our talents into soil that’s good, and we wait.
We surround ourselves with supportive people and with loved ones who have our backs. We cultivate a thankful heart and break away at clumps, because we believe that the world will be missing something great if we don’t bloom. Just like with our seeds, we water our dreams faithfully, over time. We let our humble beginnings push us forward and drive us on, rather than deter or defer us.
Even a fruit tree was once a single seed hiding quietly in the dirt, a forthcoming secret. The darkness will be our benefit if we channel its energy into something good. We can use it to reroute our roots – to dig deeper, to reach further, to grow around all of the rocks.
What dreams have you been given? What stirs your soul and moves you to action? What talents and resources have been placed in your hands?
Your working hands and brilliant mind. Your tender heart. You have the capacity to change the world.
Just like the seeds in a garden, if you are faithful to your mission, you will realize the fruits of your labor. It takes persistence and tenacity for a seed to sprout. The obstacles it must overcome to reach its full potential are great, but not impossible.
So it is with you.
Someday you will be the proud harvester of carrots and dreams. You will bend to the ground and take hold of all you’ve worked for, perspiration on your brow and perseverance in your heart. You will give one final tug, then feel the weight of it in your hands, shaking off the dirt, whispering thanks and reveling in sweet satisfaction.
Someday, you will reap from those stubborn desires that just wouldn’t go away.
– image credit: Brooke Cagle