Later, when I was living on my own and had a balcony, I started growing tomato plants. At the time I didn't particularly like tomatoes - but that wasn't the point. I had to grow SOMETHING. And I have no idea why, but I chose tomatoes. I tried peas on the balcony as well, but they weren't a huge success. I must have tried other things, too, but I can no longer remember. That was over 10 years ago.
At the same time as the balcony, I had yet another boyfriend who lived on 3 acres. So he and I grew a garden that summer we were together. His parents lived through the war in France (yes, he was older than I was, and the youngest of a large family, so his parents were quite elderly at the time) and were fantastic gardeners, so they gave me many tips. I'm sure I still remember some of them. From the garden, I remember worms on the cabbages ... I don't remember really enjoying the food we grew, but being driven to do it. I was never much for vegetables. That's changed now.
This drive to grow food - is it genetic? Is is foreshadowing? Does it come down from the future in a sense of foreboding or up from the past as a survival skill? I don't know. It really doesn't matter. I feel the need to do it. And the knowledge can't be a bad thing to have, right?
But another reason I do it is because it's magical. You take this little (sometimes tiny) seed, put it in the ground, and ... voila! A plant. And if everythng is working well and you care for it properly ... voila! Food! Even if you don't do it particularly well, or don't have a lot of time for it, you usually still get SOMETHING from it. LIFE is amazing. You plant a little speck and it gives you sustenance. What could be cooler than that? How could you possibly question the existence of God when you've witnessed that? What brings you back to reality better than that?
Well, the truly magical event for me this year is in this little story. My husband found dried poppy pods in our shed. Since we've never grown poppies, they were either given to us by our neighbours (which neither of us remembers, but our son probably brought them home from there) or they had been in there for over 5 years. Either way, it was quite clear that they were old. So on a whim, I got a pot, threw some soil in, and sprinkled the specks of seeds from the pods all over the pot and started watering it. Sure enough, of the hundreds of seeds that I planted, a few came up. And this morning ...
A beautiful, red poppy.
These petunias are another bit of magic. I kept the plant inside over the winter where it turned into a stick, but I just couldn't toss it. And now ...
Magic, I tell you. Magic!