Christian L. Torp is an attorney, missionary, activist, urban-farmer, master gardener, foster parent and advocate for social change who lives at Justice House (facebook: Justice House) with his wife, Tanya in Lexington, KY. If you have any questions or comments for Christian, or there’s something you’d like to know more about, please reach out to him at email@example.com.
Keeping it all Together
Disappointment is a sort of bankruptcy – the bankruptcy of a soul that expends too much in hope and expectation.
It’s that time of year again. A seed catalogue of two might be on your coffee table, the webpages of a few suppliers might be open right now on your desktop. You have so many ideas about what you’re going to plant, how you’re going to be ahead of the curve this year, all year; that you’re not going to miss or forget ___________ like last year- or the year before – or the year before that…
Give yourself a break.
We all have lives outside of our farms/gardens and there’s enough to keep us occupied without the intricacies of the natural order, it’s cycles and our meddling with it. Life is long and the days are short, the best you can do is the next right thing- but right now is a time of excitement, a time to be hopeful!
Why do we do this?
Relativity is both a good and a bad thing. Sure, it’s better that you’re not gardening to survive in an under-resourced, war torn area that’s been ravaged by colonialism for the last several hundred years- but at the same time, no one else should be faced with that preposition either. Despite my vulcanesque logic, be happy in your relativity. At this point in the year you may well have lots of great ideas, high hopes and beautiful dreams of what you’re going to do, how well it’s going to work and how productive it’ll be; enjoy that, but don’t let that be a downer when the year starts shaping out to be different than you’d hoped. Even if this year turns out to be a disaster, did you do anything better than last year, did you accomplish one thing that you wanted to do and hadn’t yet? Be satisfied with where you’ve come from, not where you aren’t yet.
Celebrate the small victories.
There are bugs. There are diseases. There are forgotten waterings. There are neighborhood dogs that tear up your plot and birds that eat your berries and raccoons that don’t do anything good but destroy things. If you can’t deal with the disappointment, take up macrame instead.
Let’s get down to brass tacks.
As American’s, especially as American’s who live in more densely populated areas it is possible to starve, but in order to do so one basically has to crawl into a hole and hide. Lexington, Ky is ranked as the 106th largest Metropolitan Statistical Area in the U.S. with a population of 512,650, Portland, Me is ranked 105th with a corresponding population of 532,083 and I can tell you that when people ask for money for food, it isn’t really for food. A single online search reveals Wayside Maine which lists 42 food pantries in Cumberland County and at least one breakfast, lunch or dinner any day of the week in varying locations. To be perfectly honest with you, I’ve been known to stop in at a local Christian soup kitchen here in Lexington for lunch on my way home from court in a suit with a briefcase. Don’t stress, if your garden is a disaster and produces absolutely nothing you’ll be okay, you aren’t gardening to live and while you might be gardening to supplement your diet, the main reason you’re doing it is for enjoyment… and if you’re doing it for enjoyment and stressing about it makes it less enjoyable, than why stress?
Enjoy your gardening. Don’t strive to be perfect, strive to do better. We can’t change the past, all we can ever do is decide what we’re going to do today for today is all we ever have. Don’t add too much to your plate, don’t stack up all the things you’ve wanted to do, but didn’t, and haven’t and tell yourself that you’re going to do them all this year. At most, focus on one garden project above and beyond what you did last year; if you do more than that great, but don’t beat yourself up because you didn’t get everything that you haven’t gotten done in the last five years done this year.
The season is new, the year is fresh and life is exploding all around us and we’re itching to get out and do it, but be reasonable- if you start 20 projects you’re not going to give any of them the attention they deserve and come harvest time you may well find yourself having not completed a singe one of them. Pick one in addition to what you normally do and find contentment in that. The stakes aren’t that high and the health benefits of the fresh, organic food may well be more than cancelled out by [unreasonably] high hopes and gardening stress.
Wayside Maine http://www.waysidemaine.org