Out the sliding glass door of our kitchen, past the homemade supersized deck, Mom kept the garden of my childhood.
All summer long, hair secured in a ponytail, she wore her swimsuit like a uniform. She tended our garden, pulling weeds on repeat. I still recall the taste of dirt on green beans straight from that garden, the only dirt I’ve ever enjoyed.
We remember what we remember, and gardens pluck memories long hidden.
Back then, gardens were necessary, both for budgets and strawberry rhubarb pies. Mom baked from scratch, before we learned a hundred varieties of flour, before we lost hours engrossed in conflicting research, choosing between taste and nutritional value.
The garden reminds me of a time before life got hurried and sterile. When we spent long summer days running through our above-ground pool yelling Marco…Polo. We slathered pale skin with olive oil and dumped lemon juice on big heads of hair. We lounged around the deck on black blankets, next to a fat, orange Fluffy cat who shared a towel with a happy little dachshund named Scooter.
Those were the days before life became processed and plastic. Before we took daddy steps to ensure all our opportunities came safety-guaranteed. We knew there were no guarantees then. It wasn’t just a slogan. We didn’t believe in perfect.
We lived simply. We pulled weeds and watered, enjoyed the angel food cake, and carried on neighborly conversations across lawns in the middle of the day.
I’m afraid I don’t have what it takes to garden successfully anymore. Time, for one, to understand this art. Consistency, attention, green sense… I fall short. I relate more to plastic than I do to earth, sometimes. I understand formulas, little screens filled with words, and the importance of success.
But I long for a time I can remember. For summer, childhood, a simple garden that fed us all, with regular old dirt and seeds and sunshine and water. Unfiltered and messy, days made easy.
**This is another Five Minute Friday post with Lisa-Jo Baker. Lisa just introduced a project she’s excited about today, to build a sustainable community in her homeland, South Africa. Phase 1 will be a community GARDEN! You can find out more about this project here. I’d love for you to visit and take part in this opportunity.