We moved into our home 12 years ago. The only place I have lived for this long was my childhood home, where my family and I lived, conveniently for 12 years. That home took me from the first grade to the twelfth grade and I remember thinking at 18 how long we had lived there, most of my life at that point, in fact. When I was a child my mom always had a garden. It was my job to pick strawberries, there were rows and rows of them and I hated the job. I remember that task as daunting rather than connecting that my food came from my backyard, and how wonderful that was. We would make jam, can beans, and freeze corn. During the summer there was something to do every single day. My mom loved the garden and truthfully, it was all I had ever known, but the garden was the thing keeping me from the grocery store produce all shiny and fancy. I look back on those thoughts and feel embarrassed by my attitude.
When we moved in to our 1950’s ranch, I was so excited to own a home and so excited to have a garden that I bought every magazine on the subject that I could find. I spent hours imagining gorgeous flower beds and blooming trees. Then reality set in. Owning a home can be overwhelming. There are tools to buy, a lawn to mow and gutters to clean. In my innocence I lost my excitement for gardening. Over the years summer became a dread. Every weed was a sign of my failure and I found that I just avoided the yard all together and decided that I hated the heat.
The shift happened quietly, even without my noticing. Each season we would do something new to the yard, pour a concrete patio, plant a tree, or buy a pot to plant flowers in. We spent years moving loads of rock so that the weeds would no longer mock me. Then one day, it did not feel so difficult. I found that if I pulled a few weeds a day, even for 10 minutes, that I could stay on top of it and not feel as if I had to declare war on the wilderness of dandelion.
Now, my husband and I love to garden. Over the last couple of years, the joy of growing our own food has become an obsession. There is something so simple and real about having my hands in the dirt. There is excitement in watching the first green come through the soil that only a week ago was a seed.
Sometimes the shift takes us back to our roots, back to what you know. There is so much comfort in that.