Mary J. Forbes explores the temptation of getting back to the basics.
These days, people talk about eating their own produce.
They talk about growing a garden. Vegetables, herbs, fruit...homegrown and harvested without chemicals or pesticides.
Given the economy, it’s a temptation that has me reconsidering my options.
See, several years ago I grew a garden. Each spring I planted carrots, peas, beans, potatoes...anything that put fresh produce into my family’s meals. But then...I gave up my garden. Life just got too hectic. Oh, I still have flower beds, but it’s just not the same as pulling a carrot out of the soil.
So, I created gardens for my characters—and lived vicariously. Some of my heroines planted vegetables. Some planted flowers. Others grew both. And a few admired gardens from afar.
All, however, loved the outdoors, and don’t mind “getting their hands dirty,” so to speak. It’s as though that outside garden symbolized an inner garden where they toiled in the soil of conflict, weeded through the baggage of their past, and nurtured the hope that things would get better. In the end their garden within transformed into something bright and beautiful: a future of love and happiness.
But I’m not my heroines. My garden within is flourishing.
I just want to grow a vegetable garden again. Nothing big. A few small planter boxes around the back deck. Carrots, beans, tomatoes, lettuce; maybe a spice or two. Truth is I need to dig in the dirt. I need to weed and foster the hope that the outcome will be—plainly—lush and green and inviting to the palate.
Yes, my temptation comes partly because of the economy, but more so because I cherish the idea of simplicity. Often we begin the New Year with a grand list of resolutions, and before we realize it, it’s May and almost half the year has vanished. We’re suddenly aware that what we set out to achieve has fizzled to nothing, or grown arduous and boring.
A garden can change that. A garden represents growth, accomplishment. A sense of moving forward in the most elemental way. Plant a few seeds and watch them flourish under the warmth of the sun.
So, yes. This summer my family will munch on food I’ve grown in my backyard—and know a garden offers more than vegetables. They’ll know it’s a chance to step back from the hurry of life and purely...enjoy.
This year I’ve been tempted.
And I’m planting a garden.
If you want to learn more about Mary J Forbes's books with their gardens visit: http://www.maryjforbes.com/.
Her latest, The Doctor's Surprise Family is out now.