Sunday, March 21, 2010

Roots, Untangled

You need a stethoscope and a good good rake
some beer for snails and a rope for snakes
a flowerbed to fall in as the moonlight breaks
when you're the family gardener
~lyrics from "Family Gardener" by Minus Five

The seeds we planted three weeks ago for the Cherokee Real Community Garden have sprouted! We met Tuesday night to transplant the crowded sprouts into bigger cups and give them room to grow even more before they are planted in the garden this spring.

I was surprised at the pride I felt in seeing how quickly they had grown into delicate and brightly colored mini-plants. I mean, mostly they looked like weeds, but I could see their potential.

As I pulled apart the sprouts growing too closely together, it seemed as though they didn't want to be separated. Their leaves stuck together slightly as if having become accustomed to touching and desiring to stay that way. When I held the delicate little sprout clumps in my hand and broke apart the soil surrounding their roots with my finger, I saw that the wispy, hair-like roots had grown in spirals around each other, tying the group of sprouts together inches below the soil, where nothing and no one could see their connection.

It was in this act—the separating—that I felt the beginnings of my imposition on these plants. Sure, I placed them in the soil as seeds, but the water and light they needed to grow took over from there. It wasn't until I plucked them from their beds, untangled their roots, and transplanted them into different soil so far from each other, that I made an impact on their growth. It was the first symbiotic act in our relationship.

P.S.—Look how pretty and red those beet sprouts are!

1 comment:

  1. Oh dear. Your tender feelings toward your sprouts' roots makes me fear for the emotional impact that is sure to occur when you eat their bounty.

    I bet those beets will be extra-delicious, though.