The Temporary Gardener

Apr 7th

I’ve been trying to write a new post for a couple weeks now. I start, then stop, then start again before abandoning my project, realizing there’s no substance. I started writing originally to share my experiences with gardening and sustainable food and to share my journey towards my ultimate goal of a little farm of my own. But I’ve been stuck. Stuck in a holding pattern where I’m taking in all these great ideas for improving my garden, incorporating new animals and enthusiastically reading how to resurrect old food crafts like fermenting, yet I don’t want to bother putting in the effort to start a new kombucha SCOBY if I’m going to toss it into the ravine in a few moths when we move. And I certainly don’t want to install the solar panel I bought for the chicken coop to power the little automatic door if I’m only going to disassemble it. I’m not even sure if I want to grow tomatoes if it’s likely I won’t be able to enjoy them all season. Why bother?

I try not to focus on the temporary nature of my situation. The fact that I am marching forward towards my dream of living on a farm serves as comfort. But the fact is I have short timers syndrome. Not about work – that at least is stable. But rather about my social life, my house and even my garden. I dream so big yet don’t want to waste time investing in efforts I know will only be short lived. If we are moving this summer, how much time should I spend prepping my garden for tomatoes now?

This is the ugly side of investing so much energy into pursuing a dream. To obtain that dream is requiring a great deal of sacrifice. Putting your life on hold for some “greater good” is damn harder than I thought it would be.

Yet in those moments when I lightly stroke the soft feathers of my hen Sweet Pea (because she gets mad if I pay attention to anyone else!) or when I discover dozens of wiggling worms in a single handful of soil in the garden or when my husband and I work side by side under the streaky spring sunlight in the yard, I find comfort in what we’ve already accomplished and for a brief moment allow wonder to fill the empty space. In these moments I realize that great dreams are never achieved without great sacrifice. And the inconvenience of avoiding new friends, of putting the garden in “maintenance mode” and otherwise putting a pause on life is soothed by thoughts of baby alpacas (literally, daily doses of googled images), an expansive garden where I will finally have room to trial exotic vegetables in and the overall sense of adventure that comes with starting something entirely new.

Cute, baby alpacas serve as inspiration – and a distraction.

I may be tired, stagnant and bored now. But one thing I’m sure of, this is all temporary. And that means soon this time in my life and this sense of urgency and anxiety (how to describe this feeling – impatience?) will pass. And that thought soothes my mind like honey soothes a sore throat.

PHOTO CREDIT: Baby Alpaca. Katherine. Licensed under CREATIVE COMMONS LICENSE 2.0