around our little town this summer I started to notice the quirkiest little urban
gardens. "Quirky," probably isn't even the right word; these gardens are
ugly. There is nothing idyllic about them at all. One of them is
my dad's who grew tomatoes all summer long in this dry, weed-overrun lot behind
his house. I wish I had taken a picture of it because at one point there
was a neighbor's sofa and a kid's pink inflatable pool unceremoniously
discarded behind it. My dad, ever the one for efficiency over beauty, had
taken Safeway plastic bags to tie up the vines to the tomato cages. I saw
another such quirky garden planted in the tiny dirt space next to the front door in a
large apartment complex. I don't remember any of the details about this
garden except that there was an entire row of corn growing in it! And our
neighboring apartment complex has a little community garden set up behind a row
of dumpsters in the parking lot.
Through the days of feeling sorry for myself
this summer because of yet another transition occupying all of my
time, these gardens
reminded me of how life can happen even in the most inhospitable of environments.
Over the last couple of months I have been kind of chewing on this thought
daily. I've often wondered if Scott and I have the
essential toughness needed to pursue our art in whatever
environment or situation God places us in. And that bothers me.
Interestingly, and out of the blue, I recently ran across an article that just fascinated
me. It was about Japanese families, most of which were living along the Pacific
Coast, who were taken to Internment Camps during World War II. In order
to make their lives more bearable in the arid and barren landscapes in which
the camps were located, many grew gardens and built koi ponds. I even
read of a family receiving a water lily via mail order.
So as a strange little project - a beginning in what feels like a time of barrenness - Paloma and I created a pond with use of a large planter from my parents’ garage. It's not fancy. It has three healthy gold fish and some water plants. It sits outside our front door against an old brown fence. I've gotten in the habit now of sitting on the door step with a pad under my butt and reading in the morning. It is the only place in our little basement apartment that gets direct sunlight.
The pond is a daily reminder to me that God is the one who creates something
from nothing. It is also a prayer
the God would give me some of that "essential toughness" that I feel
I'm missing to go on doing what I love to do even when things aren't perfect.
By the way, my dad's tomatoes were the best we've ever eaten and we are still enjoying them.