Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Good Intentions in the Vegetable Garden

Today it was 90 degrees in the sun by 8:00 a.m. By 9:00, the Vegetable Garden simmered under a harsh bright blue sky. Little ants had established a rush hour byway right across the garden gate. The smell of the parched and ripe summer vegetables - in their last burst of raw energy before the fall chill - was heavy and musky. The basil was so pungent amid the cherry tomato vines that a whole corner of the plot smelled like pizza. The heat-loving rosemary exuded a burst of steamy fragrance the moment the hose touched its dry spikes.

Standing in the diminishing shade to water the garden felt like standing next to a dry and menopausal crone with hot flashes crowding the top end of the temperature arrow, from Blush to Immolate. Little do the few tomatoes, squash, eggplant and melons know their impending fate. Next week, we clear the ground to reinstall the sadly dysfunctional drip irrigation system.

The melons won’t ripen before next week, nor will the final beefsteak tomatoes. But I did fill my basket with the last good shiny purple Japanese eggplants, sweet red and green peppers, almost red tomatoes, and a tiny yellow scalloped squash.

Gardens are so forgiving. Like life itself, a garden is a compromise. As the season progresses, victory begins to be described in terms of percentages. My life has been like the hopeful and positive description on a package of seeds, that struggles through the unexpectedly harsh seasons, arriving as a shadow of it’s seed pack picture. Like my vegetable garden, I may not have always done well, but I always meant well. And I always lived up to some of my fondest hopes.

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