Monday, July 14, 2008

Little beginnings

At least the plants have been enjoying all the recent rainfall.

Just look at these zucchini plants. Flourishing. Big, shade-making leaves, bright and sunny blooms—they’re loving the rain.

It still amazes me, even after all these years, how plants grow. Some dirt, a diminutive spindly green thing—and a few weeks and several inches of water later, you get these monstrous vines with sturdy stems and buds and the promise of wonderful veggies in just a week or two. And they began so humbly. I didn’t even think the tiny starters would survive. I stuck them in the dirt, and they wilted, hung droopily, looked shellshocked. So small, so vulnerable in that relentless sun. So defenseless through the driving storms. A few times in the first days after planting, they sat literally in pools of water that had run off our patio.

And now look at them. I’m so proud. And a tiny bit nervous.

From small beginnings come big things: An oak tree grows from a minute acorn, and one day towers over its surroundings. A tiny dancer commences her career with a stumbling, awkward performance at the recital—and a couple of decades later, conquers the stage in NYC. The average math student begins as all of us do, with addition, subtraction, reciting his multiplication tables…and then as an adult he devises an amazing formula that improves our lives. The first stones are laid in a monument that, at its completion, becomes an icon of human achievement.

But. Sometimes small beginnings can grow out of control. That first experimental cup of Starbucks may birth a pricey little habit. A simple electronic day planner or telephone or music storage machine is purchased—but then, on a frighteningly regular basis, a more fancy and more expensive machine must replace its predecessor. “Just this once,” a big, silly purchase is made with a credit card… and you know how that often ends.

Yes, beware those humble beginnings. They’re unimpressive, can even pass unnoticed, but that’s no guarantee they’ll stay that way. If it’s a vegetable plant, that’s probably okay; I don’t anticipate a little shop of horrors in our backyard. But if that unobtrusive beginning involves something bigger and more ominous, well, don’t say the zucchini and I didn't warn you.


Facie said...

I thought of you today when I read this article in the PG (if the link does not work you could probably find it on the front page or search for "paper" since this article is about a woman who hardly uses any paper products). You may be more into simple things than living an extremely eco-friendly life, but still.

I try to marvel in the simple things as much as I can. I just wish my tomato plant would sprout some leaves!

Anonymous said...

I read that article and appreciate this woman's efforts. But I'm sorry, it will be a cold day in July before I use yarn tampons.

Mel said...

hey gals! I read that article after facie sent the link, and I was laughing out loud. I did check out the lady's little cloth dipes, b/c I used different ones for a long time with the kid and liked them, but the other adult female cloth items she sells I am not so sure about... I was curious enough to check them out and they're very pretty...when they're clean and new. how about the whole family doesn't even use toilet paper? that gets me thinking about how there didn't used to BE toilet paper and I guess people used cloth or newspapers or leaves or something... yeeesh. and yeah, yarn should only be worn OUTSIDE the body.

best wishes with tomatoes, facie. deer are eating ours up, the pretty little criminals.