Garden Musings: Progress


“Please forgive me,” she whispered, holding the cut branch with two baby peppers in her hand. “I wasn’t paying close enough attention.” And, “You fulfilled your lifecycle. You did everything right.” She exhaled deeply, her shoulders dropping in a gesture of defeat.

Pulling out the cold blistered tomato plant, she said “thank you” and took a deep breath. Looking at the empty bed, the rich dark soil, all she could feel was gratitude. It had been her best harvest yet. Despite all the mistakes and miscalculations, she was starting to feel a modicum of trust in herself.

After mulching the last bag of leaves, she noticed that the back wheels of the lawnmower were on the lowest setting while the front wheels were on the second to highest. She couldn’t believe it. Over the growing season, she had poured a lot of effort into renovating her lawn, all on her own. Performing all the required actions laid out in a lecture she attended, it was only now that she realized she had been undermining her best efforts by cutting the grass too low—the absolute worst thing you could do to a lawn. At the realization, panic rose and her thoughts turned to bitter self-recrimination almost unbearable to sit with. She thought she’d have to call someone who could tell her she wasn’t horribly stupid. After a few minutes she snapped “Call yourself. It’s still green. You didn’t kill it. You’ll try again next year.” The bad feeling dissipated. Later she thought to herself, “This is progress.”

by Wendy Mills

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