Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Long time coming, long time gone

"A garden is a way to plant your own insurance, a way to depend on yourself for dinner even if you're cash-broke and the car's out of gas."
--Jenna Woginrich, Barnheart

This quote is from a book I'm reading, one my wife ordered and devoured on the first leg of a recent road trip then demanded I read. It's a memoir about a woman who wants a farm and has to take baby steps toward her goal, while what she really longs for a one great leap toward personal satisfaction.

As for me, I want to stay crouched--we've taken a few big leaps in our life and the landings are never graceful and always hurt, but a big jump can remind you you're still alive. But we're taking baby steps because our legs aren't ready to get us from here to there just yet. Baby steps aren't nearly as satisfying, but hauling an armful of red romas from the garden does feel good, as does opening the coop to see four eggs instead of the three you've become accustomed to seeing. Whispy beans and vines full of blossoms are better than last week's crispy, draught-dying leaves. The acorn squash as long as my infant's pinky is better than the limp, arrested zucchini I pulled off a few days ago. And we have plenty of carrots. Doing something is always better than doing nothing.

Here's another passage from Barnheart, though, that just nails the sense of longing that accompanies big dreams too stubborn to fit into a person's outstretched arms:

I think that, in the long run, it's best to chase a dream over hill and dale, wrestle it to the ground and haul it back to your pasture (that passage is about wanting some sheep, so the metaphor works). ([Spolier alert: She gets some sheep.]) Waiting sucks, but I'm not sure that getting something too easily would be all that much better. And, hey, we can make our own marinara now. Baby steps...

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