What the Lettuce Taught Me

Barbara: Like most of you, I’ve been doing a lot of end-of-the-year/beginning-of-the-new year navel gazing, which I kind of hate, but can’t stop doing. I’ve been groping around for some profound, life-changing insight, some thought that can carry me into 2010 with energy and excitement, but which I have been having the hardest time generating given how unrelentingly crappy 2009 has been.

Of course there have been many moments, even days, filled with joy and gratitude, but like many others here in California and the rest of the country, I have been struggling to get by and I’ve been finding it harder and harder to keep my spirits up.

And then this morning I was in my garden and I saw this:

I have been walking by my little basket of lettuce for a few weeks now and it always brings a smile to my lips because I remember the story that led me to plant lettuce seedlings in a basket.

A few years ago my daughter visited her college friend, Holly, at her friend’s family’s home in Connecticut. There she observed a very quirky scene. Holly’s father craved summer-sweet tomatoes, but lacked sufficient sun in any one location. His solution was to plant his seedlings in a wagon and he “took his tomatoes for a walk” several times a day.

At the time I thought this was funny and just a teensy bit eccentric, but this summer when I was desperate to grow something, anything edible, I remembered this story and saw it for what it was, an elegant way to solve the seemingly insurmountable problem of not enough sunlight.

So I planted my seedlings and I’ve been walking them around the patio into the pools of sunlight that manage to sneak through the canopy of eucalyptus trees surrounding my property. And every time I do, it makes me chuckle a little thinking of Holly’s dad pulling his bright red tomato wagon around his yard.

This morning though, I realized that my basket of salad greens is more than a solution to not having enough sunlight. This little basket of greens represents one small victory over circumstances that I had been letting get the best of me. And there was my insight, a small glimmer of profundity, proof that creativity and persistence will overcome all obstacles. It might not be the Big Revelation, but it’ll get me where I need to go.

Happy New Year everybody! Mary Beth and I send our best wishes for a love- and light-filled 2010!

13 thoughts on “What the Lettuce Taught Me

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  1. I loved this post, and can totally relate – our first garden was a container garden we moved around the yard through out the day. I’m sure we made quite the sight too! Have a wonderful and blessed 2010!

    1. Hey LizG! I have a feeling that 2010 will restore our good spirits. Happy New Year, my old friend! (And with “old friend”, I speak of duration, not age – never age!)

  2. This is gold. The picture, the sentiment, the approach to life. Some people only seem to want what they want enough to feel justified in complaining that they can’t have it. Others simply improvise. What a beautiful story to begin the year with.

    Color me grateful.

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