There is hope for the lettuce

A couple weeks ago at church I shared what has become one of my favorite passages from the Bible.  “For there is hope for a tree, if it be cut down, that it will sprout again, and that its shoots will not cease; yet at the scent of water it will bud and put out branches like a young plant.”* I think in context that Job’s point is that he’d rather be a tree, but my point is that we are like that tree. At the scent of water, we will bud and put out branches.

It’s been a while since I made the first-fruits salad for the church picnic, and taking two classes in addition to my two jobs, my gardening (as well as housekeeping) strategy has been to walk by and feel guilty on my way somewhere else. After arguing with it all summer, the lettuce finally shot up flowers and went to seed, the tomatoes died with fruit on the vine, and the chard began to whither. My birthday came and put an end to all this with the tiny potted roses from my co-workers.

The roses started to die, so I set them in the window sill where they contracted tiny yellow bugs. I have a house rule against anything harboring bugs, so I took the blessed little gift and it’s yellow colony to the patio. One thing lead to another and suddenly I was adding the failed compost canister, previously banished for similar infractions, to the now-empty tomato bag-planter. I would post a picture, but my old coffee grounds had turned the color of baby poop (which has to be a good sign, right?) As I rummaged around I discovered that although my carrots had not grown long roots, the tomatoes’ roots extended out the bottom of the bag, coiled beneath their planter and empty neighboring planters, and the three wee chard had filled their interior with nutrient seeking webs.

The fallen lettuce, my greatest source of garden-induced guilt, have hidden from sight the most treasured secret of my winter garden: all manner of sprouting things, including 10 head of lettuce.

My friend Diane always says, “Water it and see what comes up.”

As I poke seeds into the November dirt, I think about how hard it will be to leave the Central Coast for school. Learning to surf and garden, this place has finally gotten into my heart, and it’s possible my roots have grown deeper than I realize. I’m a lot like that fallen lettuce, harboring a host of seedlings, but what and where and how my seedling dreams will grow is still mine to discover. Until then, I will have to see what grows this winter in the Central Coast.

*Job 14:7-9 ESV

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