Several years ago I signed up for a plot in our community garden. I had always wanted a garden but never had the time or energy to put the work into getting the soil ready. I grew up in Iowa and all it took was an accidental drop of a seed of any sort in your yard and you almost instantly had a garden without any effort whatsoever. The soil was so rich and black it was like silk in your hands. Now I live in Colorado and the soil in my area is mostly clay. Hard, brown, dry, and lumpy and very difficult to grow anything unless you spend a few years composting and preparing the soil. So I figured the community garden would be perfect for me as all the hard work had already been done. I thought this would be fun and easy and in the end I would have an abundance of tasty fruits and vegetables. The plots were ready, all I had to do was plant my seeds, water it once in a while and voila! instant garden, or so I thought.
What I didn’t realize was this was going to take some work. I could not simply plant the seeds throw a little water on it and wait for it to produce a lush, beautiful crop. I needed to show up every day, I needed to weed my garden, I needed to feed it and water it regularly. In the beginning it was easy because the seeds were new and fresh and there wasn’t much to do to keep it going. But this was deceptive, I became complacent and I stopped tending my garden every day because I got busy and lazy and instead only went a few times a week. As the summer went on I began to notice something, all of the gardens surrounding mine were beginning to flourish, I could see the beginnings of the tomatoes, cucumbers and sunflowers. Some had beautiful flowers and others melons and berries. Their plants stood tall as if to welcome the sun everyday and thank it for coming out. The plants were all green, the rows were neat and tidy and soon they would be in full bloom. And then there was my garden, if you could call it that. It was becoming increasingly difficult to find my crop through all of the weeds surrounding it. The rows were a mess and bled into each other with the help of the weeds that were becoming taller and more abundant than my crop. I tried to pull the weeds but there were just too many, it seemed like for every weed I pulled, two more popped up. I had waited too long. Since it was an organic garden pesticide was forbidden. Besides, I believe my neglect had already poisoned my garden enough. I asked my husband and two kids to come and help me one day, but they didn’t want anything to do with my mess. I tried to harvest what I could but it was becoming increasingly hard to tell the weeds from my crop – I would imagine I picked a few of those weeds thinking they were lettuce or possibly mint or basil; which is odd because I didn’t plant mint or basil, who knows. I started sneaking in at night under the cover of darkness like some sort of burglar with my garden tools and bags. I didn’t want the other tenants to see me, I was too embarrassed to face anyone. I tried to weed a bit and salvage what I could. At the very least I needed to keep my weeds from spilling over into my neighbor’s plots. My garden was on life support, I tried to revive it but it was a little too little and a little too late and I don’t think I was really trying all that hard either, it was easier to just to give up. After a while I just let it go and waited for Fall to come so I could go in and clean up all of the dead plants. Needless to say I did not sign up again the following Spring, I think I was on some sort of gardener blacklist anyway.
Marriage is much like this, if you don’t tend to your garden or rather your relationship, it will fill up with noxious weeds. Wait too long and they become harder and harder and more of a chore to get rid of. You eventually become overwhelmed and give up and soon it dies. Marriage, much like a garden is hard work, it can’t be ignored and expected to flourish on its own, it just doesn’t happen that way. It’s not always fun and you don’t always want to get your hands dirty, but if you don’t do the work all of the poisonous plants will eventually choke out all of the healthy ones and there’s not much you can do after that.
However, if your garden has died, fear not, there is always time to start anew with fresh seeds, but this time you will know the secret to a beautiful healthy garden; weed, feed and water everyday. If you start to get lazy remind yourself of all the good that lies ahead. And yes, you can’t do it on your own, nor should you, you will need the help of all those that benefit from your garden, everyone must share in the responsibility if they are going to share in the bounty. Whatever you do don’t let the poison creep in and take over your garden or you will find yourself sneaking through the darkness looking for signs of life.