Each spring I have (what I guess is) this farmer urge to plant sweet corn and tomatoes. I've lived in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, South Dakota, Arizona, Tennessee and very soon, Colorado.
I don't know a lot about gardening, but what I have learned is those things grow better in some places than others. Not so much Arizona because of the heat. A little better in South Dakota, but more likely than not the hail will beat the plants to death. Best is the Midwest, with Tennessee, maybe the best.
Though I have had some success, usually I spend more on the plants and tending to them that I ever get in return in terms of an actual crop. This year was no exception. I spent $75 buying plants and soil and so on and so on. Although this is clearly not a smart move financially (one can buy a lot of tomatoes at the local farmers market for $75) I can only say it must be the farm boy in me that whispers “You must plant something”.
Tennessee has been one of the most fruitful yet challenging places because of the critters who love to feast on garden fare. Birds, chipmunks, squirrels, rabbits, groundhogs, crows and deer seem to see the space I create as some kind of Michelin star-rated restaurant. I’m not the only one. Experienced gardeners build up to 8’ high fences around their gardens. They electrify them. That is a bit too much work for me, though I did put a scarecrow up once and three days later, a crow was using it for their perch.
Though never very successful, I remain undaunted. I went through weeks watching my tomato plants grow. They became giant. Seven, eight, ten feet tall with promises of countless heirloom tomatoes. With much anticipation, I watched the flowers turn into little tomatoes. I watched them grow and turn from green towards orange. I saw them growing larger and larger. Critters seemed to leave them alone.
As some early developing tomatoes began their transition from green to pink towards perfectly red, I was excited. The very first one was a day away from being picked. It was a beauty, a big heirloom Cherokee Purple.
I went out the next morning to pick it and during the night some critter (who had obviously agreed with me that it was about time to eat the tomato now that it had ripened to readiness) had taken a big bite out of it. Grrr! At least eat the whole thing, please, but no, just a bite. They only ever just take a bite…
Over the next few weeks, same scenario. Just about the time I was going to pick, some critter, beat me to the punch. Always nibbling, mind you, never eating the entire thing.
Last Monday I went out to pick one, I said to myself, “I will get this one before the critters do”, and I did. It was perfect. It was beautiful. Success. My mouth was already watering in anticipation. As I was carrying it into the house, I felt a wetness on the bottom. I turned it over and yep, sure enough, a night visitor had once again beaten me to it, or should I say, eaten me to it.
I was finished. I was frustrated. I was angry. Revenge energy coursed through me. What if I put those sticky rat traps all around the plants? The critter might get my tomato, but they wouldn’t get away. I conjured up a number of other ways to exact my revenge on these perpetrators.
Then from somewhere, this thought washed over me. What if my role (as a part of and a member of this Earth community) is to feed nature for a change, rather than always expecting her to feed me?
What if my role in the big scheme of things, though very small, on this day and in this way, is to humbly give back to the one (Mother Nature) that has given so much to me.
It is amazing how that thought changed my entire experience. Now I WANTED the critters to come to the kitchen - to the restaurant, to eat, and to love and to live. Now I was seeing myself as a provider, not a victim. Changing that one little thought totally changed my entire experience. My wife mentioned that she had seen the fattest chipmunk in the world in our yard. Maybe my role is to feed that chipmunk. This critter who can't go to the market to buy a tomato. Even if all they want to do is take a bite out of one.
Quantum physics suggests that things are as they are, based on what we make up about what we are seeing. Their premise is if we change what we think we are seeing, what we see will change. There have been numerous experiments that have proven the very same. Our expectations determine what we actually experience. Change what we think we are seeing, and what we are seeing changes.
Another real life example? I asked a good friend once how she managed to be so upbeat. If there was ever a competition for the person experiencing the greatest number of life traumas, she would certainly be a finalist. She simply said, “I wake up every morning and I notice what I have, not what I've lost.”
A fitting conclusion to the quantum physic notion that, “As Seen, Shall Appear”. My reality, my life is constantly being shaped by what I make up about the meaning of the experiences I have. Wow!! What a concept.