|Image courtesy of sean dreilinger via Creative Commons.|
I’m writing this post on Mother’s Day, which is one of those days that’s complicated for me. On the one hand, I don’t like being manipulated by a Hallmark holiday – a day created to sell products. On the other hand, I do like having a day each year that I can consider special. It’s always been a great opportunity to do something fun with my husband and son. But my son no longer lives at home, and so now I find myself full of expectations around this fake holiday that set me up for silly hopes and even sillier disappointments.
I returned home last night after a 7-hour drive and several days away. When I awoke, the day was full of possibility. We could drive to a favorite spot we love to visit at this time of year when the fiddlehead ferns emerge, and hike a 10-mile loop with the dogs; but after such a long drive the day before, I wasn’t up for what would be a fairly long drive again. We could canoe, but the dogs wouldn’t like that as much. As I considered the possibilities I ventured outside, where I was confronted by the enormity of work that needed to be done in the garden and around the house. Already, the garden is full of weeds. The dandelions around it are in bloom, and much as I love them, are threatening to seed the entire garden. Our small pet grave area also needed weeding and tending. Plus the big projects that await us, like blazing a new trail through the woods.
So instead of venturing away, I got to work in the garden, and I wondered, as I periodically do, about whether it was worth all this work. So much work! Theoretically, I love that I grow so much of my family’s food, but practically, I sometimes think I should just go to the farmers’ markets or join a CSA instead. It’s hours and hours every week tending the garden. I remind myself that if I enjoy it; if it’s a good break from my primary work in Humane Education, then of course I should do it. But it’s often more a chore than a labor of love. As I weeded around the beet seedlings that I had planted a month ago, noticing that there were way more weeds than seedlings, and as the black flies started biting me, I thought, It’s time to go do something else – at least today, on Mother’s Day.
And then I went inside and stopped to check the big trash can of vermiculite in which I store our beets during the fall and winter; and lo and behold, there was a perfect beet at the very bottom, the last one from last year’s garden. I remembered the juice I made all last fall, mixing a beet and carrots and pears and apples – all from our garden and property. I recalled how delicious and beautiful that juice was. I looked forward to cutting up this big remaining beet for our salads at dinner, and I remembered why I grow food. Finding that beet was a lovely Mother’s Day treat – reminding me that tending my garden is worth it. So we’ll do some more work around the house today. And then, we’ll take those dogs on a walk in the woods and be a good mom to them, too.
For a humane world,
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