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When the Growing is Easy

How my garden reminds me to chill out

By Chelsea DelaneyPublished 3 years ago 3 min read
When the Growing is Easy
Photo by Ochir-Erdene Oyunmedeg on Unsplash

Today, my pandemic porch garden finally sprouted.

To be fair, it's not so much a garden as it is a thin layer of dirt mixed with rocks mixed with the discarded bottle caps of residents past. Scratch down half an inch and you'll find concrete. It's an unfortunate bald spot on the front porch of my apartment.

Despite it's total unsuitability for growing anything, I championed its resurrection like the Virgin Mary herself this Spring. I read about what types of seeds might grow best in the soil, I separated them and dug holes for their burial using a ruler and an eagle eye. I even put one package in the refrigerator for two weeks because that's what the instructions said to do before planting (why is this a thing?).

Failure, failure, failure. Day after day I came out of my front door, laden with laptop and coffee for another surreal work-from-home day, only to find that the dirt patch was still a dirt patch--the Siberia of my apartment.

Not to be deterred, I tried more things. I tried growing lettuce, herbs, wheatgrass, tomatoes. I even tried to just place succulents in the ground and keep them alive instead of worrying about their growth. I set watering alerts on my phone, I cleaned out the leaves religiously, I did everything but sleep by that patch of dirt and sing to it (though we did have many a morning pep talk).

Absolutely nothing would grow, and so after a few months, I finally gave up. I hung the birdfeeder from my scrawny, Charlie Brown tree that somehow manages to survive these hostile conditions, and covered my gardening shame by painting my fence and buying other cute porch accessories to finish my "home office" renovation.

Then this morning, as I went to sweep my porch, I caught a glint of green out of the corner of my eye. I got down on all fours and gasped. There were green shoots everywhere despite the rain and cold of late. "Where did you guys come from?" I asked the group of them. Was it seeds from March? Was it the remnants of bird seed from the feeder? Was it bird shit? Or maybe, just maybe, was it that I stopped trying so hard?

I'm good at trying hard, like really good. After painting and writing it's like my third best hobby. I once had a palm reader who looked at me after less than a minute and said, "You like to make things complicated, don't you?" I don't really, it's just that I can never see the point of going halfway at things, and in the process of charging the gate, sometimes I overlook moats, trap doors, and the occasional dragon. It's so true that I've made this year's theme: "Simplify and Soften." AKA...Stop trying so hard at every damn thing.

And here they were, this beautiful, green object lesson, right before my very eyes. It's not the first time I've tried to take nature's lead on trusting the process and power that has nothing to do with me, but it comes at a brilliant time, just a few weeks after losing a job.

Everything has a cycle, and while I can prepare myself so that I'm listening and ready to respond, I can't make anything go faster than it will go. This is infuriating and comforting, all in the same breath.

Who knows how long my little dirt patch sprouties will stick around. Hopefully, long enough for me to know what they are. But if not, may they be here for as long as it takes me to trust and breathe.


About the Creator

Chelsea Delaney

Life is weird, write about it, paint about it, dance about it, and sing about it too. Use every language in your arsenal to sculpt the world you want to live in. Writer, educator, artist, and creative midwife--this is what I do.

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