The calendar tells me that the first official day of spring arrives tomorrow. Shout it from the rooftops, do your happy dance, and gather your gardening gear! After a long winter, I, like most gardeners, am chomping at the bit to get back into the garden. I want to plant seeds, smell flowers, dig in the soil, and taste that first homegrown tomato of the season. I have been waiting for this moment for months and finally, the time has arrived! But, not so fast, Mother Nature may have other plans.
As I’m writing this, the temperature outside is below freezing, it’s snowing, and the ground is still frozen solid. I guess Mother Nature didn’t get the memo about spring’s arrival. Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “Adopt the pace of nature: her secret is patience.” It’s excellent advice. We’ve all heard that patience is a virtue. But, at times like these, being patient can be difficult. I mean, it’s been six months since I tasted a fresh tomato! How patient can one be?
Luckily, one of the most valuable lessons that my garden has taught me over the years is patience. Learning to wait for seeds to germinate, flowers to bloom, soil to warm, and harvest dates to arrive is essential when growing a garden. I’ve had to quickly learn that I must give up some control if I wish to have success. Gardeners may regulate which seeds to plant and where to plant them, but we cannot control the weather or the seasons, or when and if the seeds sprout, only nature can do that. A fact that at times can be humbling but also oddly liberating. Reminding us that we are part of something greater than ourselves.
Spring will arrive soon, it may not be precisely on March 20th as the calendar tells us, but it will come. Gardeners can rest assured that we will get a chance to plant once again, grow, and frolic among the furrows. Philosopher Lao Tzu reminds us that “Nature does not hurry, yet everything is accomplished.” I will try to keep this in mind as I attempt to accept the pace of nature. Striving for patience, not just in the garden, but in all aspects of my life, and acknowledging that there will always be conditions that Mother Nature alone will control.
However, even if I do succeed in adopting the pace of nature, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to overcome my impatience for the day when I can once again taste a homegrown tomato. For that, I humbly ask that Mother Nature hurry up already.