Plant and Wait

Gardening is a strange hobby for a guy (me) who drives fast, challenges himself to finish every task as quickly as possible, only enjoys mundane tasks if he can make a game out of it, and generally is impatient. Maybe gardening brings out my photo-negative personality. The majority of the below images were planted by our family since moving to this house 4 years ago.

The upper middle image isn’t great, but that’s a blueberry bush. We planted it 2 years ago and this is the first year we are seeing fruit. The yellow day lillies were planted three years ago when they were pint sized. The upper left picture is of a funky flowering plant we bought for a shady corner that gets no direct sunlight. I planted those three years ago and this is the first year we have actually seen this one flower.

The point is that after you plant something, you have to wait a while to see the fruit. Some things I have planted haven’t survived, but some have made a remarkable recovery. Some that were planted in Spring when growth should have come easily did not survive their first winter, while others untimely planted in the withering heat of a Missouri summer have endured and flourished.

We all want instant gratification. We don’t like to wait. The downside of our impatience is that we don’t give good things a chance to grow. We don’t see the long term consequences of making good decisions. Our metrics for judging success are shortsighted and often lead to bigger problems. There aren’t deeply rooted things in our lives because we have not given anything a chance to develop deep roots.

So I garden and try to learn its lessons. Truth be told, it’s turning into the story of my life. Incremental growth is the hard task of mankind that allows us to fall asleep tired – and satisfied – at night. I learned in leaps and bounds when I was a child, but now I learn in baby steps. Youth is the season for quick conquests; the rest of life is given over to the patient farmer’s lot of planting and waiting.

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