Our garden is one of my favorite places.
A mature rabbit hangs out in the thicket next door. I see it in the garden often, usually minding its own business—being a rabbit—outside the fences. This year I’ve been pushing the limits of what can be unfenced and survive.
Today, the rabbit was sitting, next to the row of carrots chewing. Luckily, it was eating clover, not the unprotected carrot tops six inches away. My fear is it’s a she and undisciplined little rabbits will ravage the garden until getting picked off by the many predators who live nearby.
Later, the rabbit came back and was eating radish leaves planted between tomato cages. I picked a leaf and ate it—sweet and refreshing. No wonder rabbits eat them. I chased it away again. It ended up munching the clover in a neighbor’s yard, then disappeared in the midday heat.
This is the ecology of my life—living as best I can in the found environment. It’s not a natural place. The forests are long gone, and the weather is unpredictable. The ground is already parched, and nearer sundown I’ll water the young plants so they don’t perish before being mulched.
With a little management, the garden produces more food than we need, but not enough to make a business of it. The seasonality of spinach and inadequate freezer space makes gifts to friends and neighbors. The same will hold true when the kale matures, tomatoes come in, and the fall apple harvest arrives. All are parts of this ecology.
Here, I can forget about politics, society and culture—except maybe for agriculture. The symbiosis with this place is hard coded in me. Not coding like DNA or computer algorithms. More like a recipe made from scratch and varied with each iteration.
The truth is we all need something like this garden.
When we planned our move from Indiana we sought a place with enough of a lot to grow this large garden. We built everything on this piece of property to fit our lives. While it is not a perfect place, its lack of perfection is alluring. Suited respite from a society that does not appear to care much, if at all, about anything beyond circles of family and friends.
It is a place to gain strength for the next endeavor.