It Started With A Pineapple
I used to be afraid of creepy crawlies, terrified of slugs, and snails. I couldn't look at an earthworm and felt the heebie-jeebies when I ran into a caterpillar. And don't get me started on the centipedes. For those, my machete comes out of storage.
And then just as the Covid-19 lockdown began, we were given a pineapple.
Lo and behold, within a few weeks after that, I was rejoicing when I saw an earthworm and picking snails out of my lettuce with my bare hands. What brought about such a drastic change in my life?
So what did the pineapple have to do with it all?
It started me on my veggie garden journey.
Yes, me. The only person in the world so terrified of bugs and creepy crawlies that for years, I have been able to go hiking without touching or brushing up against a single leaf or a blade of grass, and I became really adept at dodging branches with my Matrix moves. Thinking back, it is remarkable I did not fall off a cliff in order to avoid touching a leaf. This fear of bugs meant I was also terrified of gardening because I would have to encounter bugs and maybe, oh heavens, touch them by accident.
Then, the pineapple and Covid-19 happened.
Or rather, Covid-19 happened and then we were given the pineapple. Shortages of food in grocery stores, great big line-ups, protocols to social distance ourselves....it was all enough for me to realize I needed to save us from eventual hunger by planting part of our food. It didn't matter that it takes several months before one can harvest food from plants and we could have starved to death during the waiting period if there had been a food shortage. The point was that I was on a mission.
And so began the journey of the pineapple in the postage stamp garden.
The one pineapple led to the garden being cleared as much as we could of rocks so that there would be space for planting, compost to be buried, weeds to be pulled out, along with the constant digging and tilling of the hard soil. In the beginning, I was convinced by how dead and hopeless it all looked that we had no microbes in the soil to break down the food scraps we had buried as compost nor did we have any earthworms.
So, you can imagine my joy a few weeks later when we accidentally dug up an earthworm! I will admit that I did not touch it, but I happily looked at it knowing that my garden was on its way to being healthy, and with my spade put the earthworm back into the ground. Weeks later, I realized there were snails in my lettuce bed. Tiny, very tiny snails but I've had a phobia of snails from childhood and while I could salt all my dad's plants back then to his chagrin because I didn't know the damage it could do to the soil, I just couldn't salt the soil in my own yard that I had worked so hard to get healthy now that I know what it could do.
I understood the day I picked out snails with my bare hands from my lettuce bed how much my dad had loved me to allow me to salt the soil in his garden in order to kill the snails and slugs. Ah, the things gardening will reveal to you! Something else happened that day as well, I decided to overcome the fear I had of snails just as I had of earthworms.
There is something that feels absolutely fabulous when growth is visible. The toil and hard work invested become worth it, and there is such a sense of satisfaction and happiness just to see that there is a recompense for all that has been poured into it.
Through this time of much uncertainty, going back to the simple acts of digging in a garden, pulling out weeds, sowing seeds, and watering may not seem like much of anything but for me, it has become a link to and a reminder of all that which is known, tried, true and unchanging throughout the centuries.
The pineapple started it all, and I am glad it did.