Thursday, October 2, 2008

How Does My Garden Grow?

For the last six weeks or so, my garden has been a study in contradictions. Usually fall follows summer in a pretty predictable pattern: food crops ripen and are harvested, leaves begin to fall in earnest, the ambient temperature drops. This year it was a little different. My peppers and tomatoes did not do very well this year although my flowers were explosively abundant. I heard the same thing regarding food crops from other gardeners in my area. The plants would bud and bloom but wouldn't set fruit.

Then in mid-August the leaves began falling off the trees in such quantities that I had to sweep them up on a daily basis, giving me reason to believe an early fall would set in. After about three weeks of this behavior, the energy shifted, seemingly from one day to the next. The falling leaves slowed to a trickle and suddenly the non-performing tomatoes fruited and swelled as if trying to play catch-up. It was as if the oncoming energy of fall was deferring to the late-blooming energy of summer, holding its breath, if you will, to give summer a chance to tend to unfinished business before resuming. This week, Summer shows her waning face during the day while Autumn cools the nights, each taking turns as if on a seesaw. Soon Autumn will take over and it will be back to business.

There have been other contradictory signs in my garden as well. While there have been reports for years about the waning bee population, this year I saw a marked increase in bee activity, at times observing as many as five different varieties of bees in my garden simultaneously. I also observed more monarch butterflies this summer than I have in the previous 17 years I have lived in my house. So with this flurry of pollinating activity going on, why didn't the crops do better?

And then there was the mystery melon. A melon vine mysteriously appeared in my garden and began to grow. Although I did not plant it, out of curiosity I allowed it to mature. Only one melon fruited, a small, softball-sized canteloupe. When it fell off the vine, I left it in the sun for about a week. I didn't think it was any good, but when I cut it open it was sweet and delicious. A totally unexpected surprise.

I'm going to go out on a limb here and take my observations a little further. This will sound a little far-fetched if not downright absurd but bear with me. The rise of Barack Obama in the presidential campaign has been an unexpected surprise for many. Polls show the popularity of the two candidates seesawing slightly, up a little one day, down a little the next. The country seems to be holding its breath, waiting for the political race to end before exhaling. Once it ends, the new president will take over and it will be back to business.

In many ways, it seems to me that the energy surrounding the events occuring in our country have been forecasted by the energy in my garden. Of course my garden experience is not the same as another's and I don't pretend to be able to divine anything by watching how my garden grows. I'm just making corresponding connections where they seem to fit.

I wonder if that flurry of busy bees and those poor tomatoes trying to catch up have anything to say about this $700 billion bailout.

Ballo ergo sum,
Always and all ways,
- Gitana, the Creative Diva

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