Merlot Mudpies

Can a blog be about gardening, cancer, family, food and life all at the same time? Oh good.

It’s In There April 28, 2008

Kate said regarding a seedling she knows has begun to hatch down under the soil, “I love growing. It’s in there!” Her “there” was referring to a pot of soil she’d taken a picture of. I’ll out her by outing myself: a lot of us garden addicts are diggers even though we know we shouldn’t be. Wondering if anything is happening we finally root through the soil in anticipation…to confirm that hope that something, indeed, is in there growing, becoming, living!

This weekend I was squatting on my haunches staring hard at my current batch of seed starts. “Fawning over your seedlings again, I see.” Ryan observed wryly. I blushed and smiled at him. I feel like a kid when I look down at them, ponder the seeds I put in the soil days or weeks before and these growing amazing plants I have as a result. It’s amazing! Miraculous! A joy to behold!

Now that I’ve started a few batches of plants of my own and don’t just buy starts at the local gardening centers, I view my seeds in a whole new way. I ponder the packet labels and the plants and veggies and flowers they display and then look at the little dry, dead-seeming kernels that pour into my hand. And to steal Kate’s words, I think, “It’s in there.” And it amazes me every time.

If you’ll allow me to work a metaphor into the ground:

It makes me think of the adage, “What you see is not always what you get.”


Andrew Peterson has a song called Mountains on the Ocean Floor that I listen to over and over and over again. How often in my own life have I tried and failed and tried and failed again and again to change things only to feel that they are always the same? How often have I looked at a situation that seemingly has no solution, no end, no possible resolution? Peterson sings about mountains forming in the deep, down below where any eye can see, under a surface that seems unmoved and unchanging day after day. There in those places, it’s true, mountains form.

On a smaller but no less amazing scale, for seeds the same holds true. In these little husk-covered kernels, dead to the eye, buried in the soil, hidden away from everything, change is happening, life lies in wait. It’s in there.

It’s in there. Have hope.


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