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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Garden-Variety Religions

This story won the Week Seventy-Nine Trifecta Writing Challenge!


http://www.trifectawritingchallenge.com/2013/05/trifextra-week-seventy.html 


The unexpected occurs in all walks of life, and the kitchen garden should be no exception. While one gardener might carry out exhaustive inspections for signs of plague, improper drainage or drought, and spend hours hoeing and uprooting unwelcome intruders, spraying and fertilizing while striving for a perfect harvest, another rejoices in the novel encounter of a rogue tomato plant among the peppers or a gloriously pink cosmos sprouting unbidden from the zucchini bed. There is much to be said for the exoticism of a purple-and-lime-green-striped hornworm shimmying up the stalk of an aubergine plant. For the record, setting it free in the nearby woods is not the same as throwing it on the concrete walk and smooshing it with one’s boot.
To the untrained eye, certain gardens may appear slapdash and chaotic, overrun to the point where one imagines the gardener has run screaming from the hostile patch of contrariness in frustrated agony, never to return. What may have begun life as an exalted homage to organic cultivation can later seem to be teetering on the edge of succumbence to nature at its most extreme.
Because each gardener has his or her own peculiarly annoying or endearing quirks, gardens tend to range in pretentions from small innovative allotments to grandiose overtures. On the bombastic scale, there may well be a right way and a wrong way to grow a tomato, but on a more individualistic, live-and-let-live order of the universe, a more gentle approach may be embodied in the truism “to each her own”. Where one neighbor prefers to extend his tomato plants over an exuberantly crowded plot, another needs to space her sucker-pruned plants at careful, one-meter intervals. Exactly.
At the end of the day, or the end of the season, what counts is not the final result, although a fully ripe tomato is a lovely thing to eat. What matters is how deeply the nutrition-rich dirt has become embedded under one’s fingernails, a sure sign of absolute communion.

331 words for  including APPEAR 3: to have an outward aspect : seem

48 comments:

  1. Very interesting read,Kymm, and well written.

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    1. So nice of you to say. Thank you, Jo-Anne!

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  2. This is perfect as a sun-ripened tomato.
    My favorite part: On the bombastic scale, there may well be a right way and a wrong way to grow a tomato, but on a more individualistic, live-and-let-live order of the universe, a more gentle approach may be embodied in the truism “to each her own”. Where one neighbor prefers to extend his tomato plants over an exuberantly crowded plot, another needs to space her sucker-pruned plants at careful, one-meter intervals. Exactly.

    So looking forward to gardening! As soon as I move out of this blasted hotel room!

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    1. What a lovely, never mind apropos, complement. Thank you, Kelly!
      I get my fix on the weekend, but it's been raining since February! I do feel the pain of your hotel room... keep the faith, sister.

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  3. Fantastic metaphor. I read this with nutrition rich dirt on my hands having just come in from tending my tomato plants, and greens, and several other vegetables. What a coincidence to click on your link first. I love the word succumbence. The piece is just great. I love the way your mind works.

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    1. Haha. It is quite a rush to have the way my mind works loved. Such a lovely comment. Thanks, Steph!
      I grew up a sailor, but need my hands in the dirt now : )

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  4. You're a hell of a writer, Kymm. I'm sure you know this, since social media loves to flaunt it, but they say one of the keys to happiness is spending time outside, with dirt under your nails. You hit this one on the head.

    Thanks for linking up.

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    1. Well. Thank you kindly, Tri!
      One of the conditions for moving into the city was having a place in the country for weekends, and despite the endless work, I never regret it. Twittering birds, the scent of wysteria or honeysuckle and food off the vine let your mind get back to a better place.

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  5. I once planted some pumpkin plants alongside what I didn't know were bean plants. The bean plants took over the whole area and I thought my pumpkin plant would never amount to anything. Then, when circumstances forced me to move, I was clearing out the overgrown bean vines and I found a runty pumpkin :D Overgrown gardens are the best for discoveries.

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    1. Just exactly that! Nature is so awesome that way.
      Thanks for reading, Draug!

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  6. Yes, the dirt under the nails is one thing all gardeners have in common (how does that happen even with gloves on, I wonder!) I'm afraid my garden would be closer to the haphazard end of the scale.

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    1. And then I go wash up, and scrub with the fingernail brush and end up back pulling just one more week or transplanting some little thing. Haphazard rocks!
      Thanks for reading, Janna!

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  7. Love this Kymm... lots of dirt under my nails already :-)

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    1. Feels good, doesn't it?!
      Thanks, Cyndi!

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  8. I love this. And the "dirt" under the nails doesn't always mean solely gardening. It's about living a life, at least to me. I'm of the "live and let live" variety.

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    1. Funny you should say that. As I was tweaking the dirt under fingernails bit, I was thinking of my mother, a painter, who always has bits of paint everywhere.
      Thanks for the love, Gina!

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  9. So true! Nothing beats spending time in the garden (except when my son and my dogs join me!). What a great piece Kymm. Makes me wish I was in the garden right now.

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    1. Haha One of the cats inevitably follows me into the garden, to help I assume.
      Thanks, Suzanne, glad you liked it!

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  10. this reminds of my dad. gardening is truly a religion for him. love this write.

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    1. But of course! Gardening IS a religion, with the gardener as god(dess)!
      Haha. Thanks for the love, Renada!

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  11. Yep, many ways to bring food to the table.

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    1. Hmm, but none so gratifying! Thanks for reading, xandranihilo!

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  12. I love this deep analysis of gardening.. though our garden is a lovely woodland where no tomatoes would ever come. Very very well written...

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    1. My garden is semi-professional, but almost 100 km away on weekends only.
      Thank you so much for the love, Björn!

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  13. Kymm, oh Kymm where are you? I yelled-relieved to find you at #58! ;)

    I love this marvelous piece because I love gardening-the rogue plants, the snails and slugs, the dirt under my nails. I love it all:)

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    1. Hahaha I try to get them up early, Valerie, I really do!
      So happy for the love. And the snails and the slugs.
      Thank you!

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  14. Are those simplistic or sardonic seeds you've planted in your symbiotic symbolism? In either case, it made for stimulating speculation! ;)

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    1. Those are seeds of rebellion, surrounded as I am by know-it-all neighbors (who, on the other hand, are unbelievably helpful).
      Glad it got your alliteration going.
      Thanks, Jody!

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  15. I'm more of a "throw the seeds in the back forty and see what sprouts" sort of gardener. Then again, I prefer cacti. Very nicely done. I particularly loved the images that bloomed forth in my mind as I was reading. Lovely!

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    1. Glad to have helped things bloom anywhere, your mind included!
      I keep the cacti on the terrace in the city. It gets real hot.
      Thank you, Tina!

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  16. I agree..a very nice piece on why some of us garden. Even the cicadas that are resting on my peonies would rather be flicked off and allowed to fly to another leaf, than be exterminated. I love your imagery, and you've inspired me to start my tomatoes.

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    1. I could live the whole year just for that first bite of a tomato on the vine!
      Glad to inspire.
      Thanks for the love, Joanne!

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  17. Congratulations on your win! I didn't get to read all I wanted this week. Always try to read yours. Can tell you love your gardening. I too don't feel I've done anything until the dirt is under my nails. Nice write!

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    1. Thank you very much, Maggie! Back at it this weekend and realized I forgot to mention aching thighs, blisters and the welt from banging myself with the hoe. hahaha
      Glad you liked it.

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  18. I got the dirt under my nails yesterday--loved this beautifully crafted piece! Congratulations!

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    1. Yes, I was back at it as well today.
      Thank you so much, Ginny!

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  19. Just wanted to come by and say I love your writing. This story was a well-deserved win.

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    1. Well, if it's to say things like that, come by any old time, Linda!
      Thank you so much. I'm glad you liked it.

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  20. This spoke to me in so many ways. I grow my veggies in pots on my deck because other wise the deer on my rural mountaintop would think they'd stumbled across a smorgasbord just for them. One bizarre little tomato plant produced tomatoes all during winter and is starting it's second year now. I just bow to nature. Lovely writing. Well-deserved win.

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    1. Yes, nature is to be bowed to (and groveled before?).
      Thank you so much, Jayne! I'm glad you liked it.

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  21. Congratulations on your win. This is lovely. You really have a way with word and plants:)

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    1. I thank you kindly, momtheobscure! Glad you liked it.

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  22. Lovely descriptions - you had me rambling over and through those different gardens. Many congratulations on your win.

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    1. Glad you enjoyed it. Thank you so much, Sarah!!

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  23. You have won a follower with this piece. The first paragraph just left me in awe. Your writing is spectacular - complex and filled with descriptions and vocabulary that is a mark of a good writer. Fan-tas-tic.

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    1. You've won me over with this comment. lol I'm glad you liked it.
      Thank you so much, Rebecca, you are too kind.

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