Today it was time to plant out my dining table seedlings. Actually, it was way past time. They were beginning to amass into a leggy patch of loitering photosynthesizing delinquents, bickering and slapping one another in my absence. I knew it was time. I knew it was time last week, and the week before that.
The problem has been The Peas. Sugar Snap and Snow - how I languished over their slow, often sterile seed pods. How I coaxed them through the early heat waves and trained them up along my own jerry-rigged twine and twig trellises. How I delighted in their first flower buds and snacked on their sweet, crisp yumminess. They became my abundant spring vegetable, always there to greet me when I returned from work, always willing to fill my bowl and keep on climbing. I wasn't ready to say goodbye.
But, it was time. The peas were dying. It is, after all, almost May.
And the longer I linger, the more I hinder what is straining to grow. Tomatoes, Squash, Peppers. The new promises of summer, waiting impatiently for their own piece of dirt and beginning to wilt without it. I detest the destruction involved in gardening. Something always has to go in order to make room for something else. Plants complete their cycles and shed their glory while seedlings stretch and unfurl beneath them. I find myself wanting to keep everything, to preserve the beauty and have Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter all coexist in full bloom. And as tough as the garden has made me, I'm still not tough enough. I'm learning though, and the lessons are happening on the inside of my heart. When it is difficult I still set out and do what needs to be done. Because I know it is right.
Everything got a place today. The dirt was soft and yielding and I didn't even mind when the hose exploded and showered me in MiracleGro. It was just like old times. The peas filled one last bowl and now live in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator. And I realized in the end that even though I took down the pea vines from the garden, I didn't really lose them. I have them here and I have them in my most treasured memories. I feel blessed just by the fact they ever were at all. You only truly kill something by trying to stop it from living out its natural cycle, by preventing it from being what it was always meant to be, and by trying to save it at the expense of everything else. Life is a communal experience. Everything exists together, and the end of every cycle is the beginning of another.