Love revives

By Mir
April 16, 2009

I’ve been thinking a lot, the last couple of weeks, about histories and futures and—most of all—the gift of the present. I still struggle every day with appreciating that last one as much as I ought to, which is pretty ironic given that I’m not not one to cling to history, either, and oftentimes thinking about the future causes me to have palpitations.

I don’t like unknowns. I like knowing what IS and what WILL BE and learning from what WAS and then moving on. You know, to the safety of what IS. Heh. Though it can be hard to fully EXPERIENCE what is when one is busy INVENTORYING it. Not that I would know anything about that. Ahem.

The emotion behind the responses to my wedding dress dilemma surprised me. I thank you all (well, okay, those of you who weren’t rude about it) for taking the time to share your points of view and explain to me what I may be missing. And it’s true, I am (was) missing some stuff, and I’m working on that.

About a week and a half ago, we had an overnight freeze here. It’s a freak kind of thing; not unheard of for this time of year, no, but certainly not the norm. And after all that time I spent gleefully sharing every tiny sprout in my garden with you (complete with all of that awesome educational commentary about how “it’s a bean! maybe! wait, maybe it’s spinach!”), I could not bring myself to report that despite three tarps, one oversize bucket, and several dozen bricks all artfully arranged… all of my tomatoes and peppers and basil plants died.

I went out later that morning after it had warmed up, and uncovered the boxes. Every pepper plant lay curled over onto itself, brown and stringy. My majestic tomato plants—three of the five of them which had already been flowering—listed to the side while their brown leaves stuck, gummy, to their cages. The basil splayed outward, the deepest and most shocking brown, as if it had been rotting for weeks instead of a mere few hours.

The good news is that all of the stuff we planted from seed was unbothered. The beans, cucumbers, zucchini, squash, spinach… they couldn’t care less about the cold. They laugh in the face of cold! But all of the plants I’d actually, you know SPENT MONEY ON were gone.

And I was really upset about it. Partly because of the money, sure, because I’m a tightwad and I’d sprung for the organic peppers and whatever, but also because I felt like I’d spent a lot of time and energy for nothing. But if I’m being honest, it was mostly that it was completely out of my control and “not supposed to happen that way” and I maybe have just a wee tiny bit of PTSD when it comes to stuff like that.

So, yeah. I was more upset about it than was logical. Considering that it’s just a bunch of plants.

I wanted to rip them all out that afternoon, but Otto convinced me to just leave them for a bit. “Maybe they’ll come back,” he said. “Just leave them for a bit.”

I made fun of him for thinking that. Because the plants were clearer deader than dead and what did he know, anyway? But I agreed to leave them.

A couple of days later I went and carefully trimmed back a layer of dead leaves and stalks, wherever the edges were getting crispy in the sun. The next day, I did it again.

The third time I trimmed, I thought, “Well now, this is going to be just lovely. An entire garden box full of NAKED STALKS.” But I tried to pretend I thought it was going to work. The main stems of all the plants except the basil remained—impossibly!—green, so I tried to think positive. Failing that, I promised myself that whatever was still clearly dead by THIS weekend, I would replace on Saturday.

Maybe it was Easter, maybe it was luck, maybe it’s not unusual at all, I have no idea, but all I’m going out to buy on Saturday is basil (which is well and truly dead, RIP). Everything else has rallied.

I am amazed.

The Romas have proved the heartiest; the first one was, to quote Billy Crystal from The Princess Bride, only mostly dead to begin with, but this one I really thought was dead. The first one now looks like nothing ever happened to it, and this one, well, That’s all new growth right there.

The Golden Jubilees were slower, but this one has a bunch of new growth, too.

As does this one.

I know it’s hard to see, but this is one of the California Wonder Peppers (which I’d trimmed back to a naked stalk), and it has MAGICALLY sprouted a bunch of leaf buds which are now uncurling.

And I left a couple of scraggly leaves on this banana pepper plant and NOW look at it.

I know our harvest will easily be set back a month, by this. And I could go ahead and replace the plants, anyway, with ones bigger and heartier, but I’m just so delighted by the sheer tenacity at work, here. And I’m sure there’s a pointed life lesson in there, somewhere, about my wanting to rip them out and Otto urging me to wait, but, hey, details. It’s a 2′ x 10′ box of miracles, right here in my yard. I’ll take it. And enjoy it.

Happy Love Thursday, everyone. Here’s to all the rebirths we can muster.

(And just for you, Karen: Today I have a theme song! It’s Patience by Catie Curtis.)


  1. kate c.w.

    I guess sometimes patience is the best medicine. But WHY isn’t it WORKING YET?!

    I’m with ya on the desire to rip it all out and start afresh when things don’t go MY way on MY time. Pointed lesson duly noted.

  2. Chookooloonks

    Yay for theme songs and revivals!

  3. Barbara

    Woohoo! for the wise counsel of St. Otto.

  4. O.G.

    Love the life lesson

  5. Rachel

    Good things come to those who wait…
    Here in ND, still waiting for another month (or more) before even thinking of planting anything! = )
    I’m jealous of your greenery.

  6. Heather

    This really made me smile. And I’m going to go with the “it was Easter” because that just makes me feel all gooey and hopeful inside.

  7. Megan

    Lovely. And having spent at least a little time as a blighted plant (note to self: add “blighted plant” to CV immediately; brainstorm skill set to bolster claim) it is good to find those leaves growing in and feeling the sun again.

    Hmmm…. not sure how well that analogy worked!

  8. annette

    And, that is the way God works!

    (Why can’t i get that already???)

  9. elizabeth

    life has a tendency to win out, one way or another.
    every time.
    happy love thursday. :-)

  10. exile on mom street

    Ha! I tooollllddd you!

    Granted, it was after Otto had done all of the convincing necessary, but still I shall gloat.

    Happy Love Thursday, my tenacious friend.

  11. MomCat

    What a re-leaf!

  12. Jill in Atlanta

    My seeds indoors are all finally sprouting. Something dug up almost all my carrots and radishes. I might replant. I might just mope. I suggest starting basil indoors in a peat pot and putting it out in another month or so.

  13. Groovecatmom


  14. Ariel

    I totally understand why you want to get rid of the dress- (I BURNED mine :)) I also understand why people think you should keep it- so I think you should let your EX hold onto it for her :)

  15. Tracy

    Good things comes to those who wait. I’m not one with any patience whatsoever. My Papaw (the Greatest Farmer EVER)told me a long time ago, never to plant anything before Easter because of the Easter snap. And to this day, I’ve lived by it. And now that it’s a week after Easter and I’m really itching to play in the dirt, it’s suppose to rain for 3 days. So, I think I’m gonna take off work tomorrow and play in the dirt BEFORE the rain. Sounds like a plan. Happy Love Thursday!

  16. AmmaAlways

    Yay for Otto! And for you for listening to him. One of my favorite thoughts for you and for your garden of plants and children – “Every moment is a vehicle of grace.” True for plants, and for surprises found in old boxes – whatever you decide to do with them! (And just for a late vote on the wedding dress – I agree. Ditch the past. Sentimentality can be so heavy and exhausting!)

  17. Sheila

    They may be a month late, but they will taste all the better because you had faith. Or Otto had faith, and you had faith in him. Either way, hooray for Nature!

  18. RuthWells

    Basil is notorious sensitive to cold. The good news is it’s easy to start indoors from seed, so you can have lots of back up plants standing by, if you go that route.

  19. RuthWells

    I meant “notoriousLY”, of course.

  20. Asianmommy

    Yes, life is a miracle. Yay!

  21. Cele

    Take that mother nature.

  22. mama speak

    I know I’ve read that basil is supposed to be easy to grow, but man if it isn’t the one thing I can’t seem to win with. Daddy can get it, and truth be told, not a huge deal for me anyway, more of a rosemary girl myself. I’m glad you listened to Otto and your plants came thru for you. I’m mostly happy for you cause I think that those tomatoes and peppers will be way more satisfying knowing the effort and faith that went into them.

    (Our seed started plants are still indoors, too cold at night still for my taste, and we’re in Cali! But I’ll tell you, these took off like nothing I’ve ever seen before. My kitchen windowsill is like a jungle right now & I love it. Next year we’re going to try collecting our own seeds & see how that goes. Fun!

  23. Michelle

    Okay, this is totally off topic, but I thought of you when I saw the ad for this. BACON lollipops!!!!!! Seriously.
    THey have others, but that made me think of you.

  24. Katie in MA

    It’s a Love Thursday Miracle! But I don’t know who to dub Miracle Max…you or Otto?

  25. Jann

    We have a very short growing season where I live. I am lucky to get medium-sized green tomatoes that I bring in to ripen in my basement just before they freeze in late summer. One summer my tomato plants froze pretty badly right in the beginning. I was just sick, but too lazy to do anything about digging them up. Lo and behold…several days later, they took off, and I had the best crop of tomatoes I’ve EVER had with some actually ripening on the vine! Practically unheard of!

  26. Nicole

    All the plants we’ve ever, usually brought home from pre-school by my son, die miserable almost instantaneous deaths and I toss them before the dirt is even dry. I guess I need to work on my patience, and faith, and maybe not put the poor things over the radiator.

  27. Nancy

    Yea, plants! I wish we were even close to plantin’ time. Again with the dress – I tossed mine in the trash one day. My daughter wanted nothing to do with her Dad or anything from my wedding. My rings are with a dealer waiting for the price of diamonds to go up. I think your ring made into a pendant will be perfect. But then, I throw everything away.

  28. Daisy

    I’m so glad you had good luck and hardy plants!! It will be so exciting when the plants bear fruit. Gotta love that Otto & his wonderful attitude and patience!

  29. annette

    THAT was funny MomCat!

  30. ImpostorMom

    Awesome. I’m glad they came back. I ventured into my small taste of gardening this weekend. I historically have the black thumb of death but I am now the proud owner of a very tiny container “garden.” It has one cherry tomato plan, one red bell pepper plant, and cinnamon basil. I’ve managed to keep a small human alive for a couple of years, maybe I can keep these suckers alive too.

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