Tuesday, July 22, 2008

A Gardener's Dilemma

I killed my carrots. Every single one of them.

It is a principal of gardening that you scatter tiny vegetable seeds in the spring, watch to see how many germinate and come to life, and then...

...murder half of them.

It is only through thinning out half the seedlings that the others have room to live. Carrot seeds are so small that it is almost impossible to plant them individually. If I didn't just scatter the tiny seeds, I might not spend the effort to plant them at all, to bring them to life.

We can even eat all our thinnings. How different is that from bringing produce to adulthood just to nourish us? Facilitating life and managing death purely to nourish ourselves is what annual vegetable gardening is all about. I have absolutely no moral qualms about snuffing the life of produce.

Or do I? Those poor carrot seedlings, so dainty and so slow to germinate.... I left them too long without thinning them, hoping for them to become strong enough to make it to adulthood. I just could not thin them. "Thin" them--what a pathetic word to convey the taking of life prematurely. (Good grief. Taking the life MATURELY doesn't bother me.)

So the carrots strangled themselves, wrapping themselves in each other's roots, unable to spread out.

* * *

Today's lesson from the garden:

There are times we have to make choices in order to move forward.

When I was 18yo, everything seemed open to me.

Each step I made toward one future simultaneously closed the door to another.

Soon, I had limited my options. Things that had been possible before were no longer there.

It is exactly through those limitations that we move further into the light, into life.


The Tell-Tale Heart said...

Perhaps the difference between the immaturity of youth and the maturity of experience is the ability to make choices and to do so without a sense of loss or regret.

I'm not there yet myself but am happy that I've made some progress.

Sorry to hear about the carrots.

Carrie K said...

Ah, I'm too cynical to discuss youth and experience.

Poor dead carrots. As I repeat endlessly, I have more respect for the intellectual depth of a carrot than I do a chicken.

Veggie Mom said...

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m.scott said...

I have complete empathy. I feel like I'm commiting genocied when I thin seedlings. It happends today with some tiny lettuce plants that will never know what is like to be fully grown.

Chile said...

Vegetable murderer! Join the ranks. I don't need to thin mine out because more than half of them don't germinate in the first place.

Love the analogy with life.


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