Those I Am Grateful For

This week on Colline’s Blog, she shared a lovely note from one of her students. It reminded me of how wonderful it is to receive a handwritten letter in the mail. So many times, I think about and have full intention to send out a thoughtful letter to a loved one and most of the time I just don’t get around to it.

Folks I wanted to drop a line to this week:

Dad, thanks for driving all the way out here and spending two days fishing an old creek and a new pond with me. I surprised myself, and probably you too, when I found myself in a bit of a pickle with that feisty sunfish and called out for your help. “Dad! This silly fish is not cooperating!” I guess we’re never to old to sometimes need our Daddy.

Sis, I know you’re not terribly fond of the outdoors, but you put up with the heat and the bugs and the “ewww” factor like a champ. Don’t think your efforts have gone unnoticed. Thanks for letting me have my fishy fun!

There are so many more I can think of to be grateful for. You may not know it, but you brought joy to my day and warmed my heart.

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Fueled

By Marcie Hans

Fueled by million man-made wings of fire
the rocket tore a tunnel through the sky
and everybody cheered.
Fueled
only by a thought from God –
the seedling
urged its way
through the thickness of black –
and as it pierced
the heavy ceiling of the soil –
and launched itself
up into outer space –
no
one
even
clapped.

All Farmers Are Gamblers

“All farmers are gamblers.”

This could have just as easily been the tagline for this blog, but it just wasn’t hopeless enough. To say that a farmer gambles is to say that the weather, or the market, or biblical-type pest infestations puts the farmer’s investment at risk. He knows how to grow vegetables. Much of what he knows won’t mean diddly in the face of severe drought, or monsoon, or the fact that the previous winter was too mild to kill off vast numbers of hungry garden pests. Therein lies the gamble.

My garden is not a gamble. It is an experiment; a classroom. It has been, in the past, an absolute failure. One might say, a complete waste of time and resources. That is, if the only benefit were vegetables.

What I’ve learned about gardening fills pages of a binder reserved just for that information: planning and preparation, recommended and tried and true vegetable varieties, companion plants, organic pest control, composting, storing options and recipes fill the pages. Yep, I’m kind of a nerd that way. And, yet, I know it is only a drop in the bucket of the knowledge, insight, and instinct I hope to possess in the years to come.

What I’ve learned in my garden is mostly about myself. Playing in the dirt, like riding on a bicycle, is as fun now as it was as a child. In the garden, I can accept not knowing everything and not be paralyzed with fear. I allow myself to fail over and over again and I’m totally okay with that.

To outsiders, it does not seem rational. My neighbors shake their head at the crazy garden lady out in the heat. My friends are just glad it’s a healthy occupation and have no hopes of ever being on the receiving end of a bounty of seasonal produce. My family celebrates by beautiful garden, but help me save face by never asking about the harvest.

Some day, I tell myself, some day…

So, maybe, I am a gambler.