I found out yesterday that I have been gardening since the age of five.
I certainly never wanted to get my hands dirty. Some of the neighbor girls made mud pies — the thought of it…. no! I constantly checked to see if the outdoor hose was working, just in case.
My grandmother made real pies, but still, her hands… deep in the garden, she pulled and cut the rhubarb. You could see it from the dining room window. And I was fascinated that the day before, or even that very morning, it was in the ground, and now, here it sat, round and steaming, crusted, on the table.
I was asked the other day at what age I started to write, to paint. 5 years old. Did you share it? she asked. Oh, yes! With my mother. I would come out of my bedroom, arms straight out – holding it like the steaming pie I imagined it to be, and presented it. Words and paintings, I thought, were meant to be devoured.
Mid-feast in my newest read, “Our Missing Hearts,” by Celeste Ng, I read that the word “author” means to bring to life, to grow. Like a gardener, I thought.
She asked me if there were other writers, artists, in the family. No, I said, but there were gardeners, farmers — people with hands and hearts, dirtied by life’s abundance of heartache, challenge and joy. Teaching, inspiring, giving everything, with arms reaching straight out — the authors of living.
Each day, ready or not, we will be asked to grow, to give. The sun comes up, and says, “Welcome to the garden!”