So seriously, the garden has been the most exciting working group ever ALWAYS. But this week especially, things have gone NUTS. Before my eyes an epic opera of life and death, of vegetable and gardener, of difficulty and triumph has slowly unfolded.
We’ve been pulling in beans on beans, squash is shooting out of the ground left and right, and the first dark purple blobs hinting at future eggplants have appeared. Despite this, not everything in the garden bodes so well.
Do you live in Chicago? Remember that storm last Friday? Did it just rain on the outside of your house while you watched netflix or were you upset that pitchfork or Pearl Jam got rained out? Well, for anyone and anything outside it was WILD. As much as we were grateful for the rain (its been a little dry since the wet start to the season), the blustering gusts of wind driving it into the ground ended with over 3/4 of our corn laying flat on the ground.
Yeah we freaked out. Maybe a lot. So what? We had taken care of that stuff for weeks. Watching it pass benchmarks like “knee high by 4th of July,” and growing taller than our shortest (and then tallest) team member made each gardener glow with pride when we caught a glimpse of the corn patch’s waving plumes reaching above the fence.
I myself only noticed the damage to the corn Sunday afternoon. I was just giving a friend a tour of the garden and BAM all of a sudden had to deal with emotions akin to realizing that the hampster your friend made you take care of for 2 weeks while they were on vacation one time that you kind of ended up liking enough to consider buying one yourself but didn’t want the hassle so you were just happy to know that you could visit the hampster and it was alive HAD JUST DIED. The tips of the corn seemed to be feebly turning towards the sun; I felt for it but the stalks had snapped and it seemed like a lost cause. I was waxing emotional about “the glorious corn of bygone days.”
I shoulda given nature more credit. By the time I got back to the garden it was already Tuesday morning. I was ready to yank the “dead” corn and try to get something new into the ground to save some of our productivity. Expecting the same scene of destruction (except maybe a little more withered and dead), I was shocked to see the corn stalks bending almost 3 feet up off the ground. #boost
Though their snapped stalks will never fully right themselves, their ears of corn grow nonetheless. I guess I should have known that if corn was killed every time a storm blew through there wouldn’t be any corn left in the world. Nature is powerful and beautiful, even when humans have commandeered it for their own productivity.
These plants have taught me a lot about living my life. We can’t stop a storm. No matter how much we plan or how effective our preventative actions may or may not be, we have no choice but to look at what is in front of us and look to grow and improve. Corn doesn’t plan to fight back against the sky. Corn doesn’t give up and wither away. Corn doesn’t say “the city seems stacked against me, I should try to grow somewhere else.” Even after a storm, battered and laying upon the ground, what needs to be done is done in order to make tomorrow be better than today, every day.
By Joe Wat: Yardshare and corn adventurer