This I Believe

Sharon - Frederick, Illinois
Entered on June 26, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: gratitude, nature
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This I Believe

I have come to the conclusion that nothing brings about gratitude faster than a bout with deprivation. My case in point deals with our home garden.

Our vegetable garden has played a large part in my relationship with my husband, Dick for the past 27 years. We both have our degrees in horticulture; he loves the vegetables and I adore the flowers.

As a degree and hoe carrying gardener, Dick has grown the most luscious and envious gardens in the neighborhood. As he did the gardening, I was the one in charge of doing the pickling, canning, freezing and cooking of all that abundance. As time went by I grew to resent the garden and the subsequent time-consuming burdens it bore. Even though Dick began sharing the cooking duties, I was still in charge of the “stocking up.”

All that changed a few years ago. Economics forced us to put the gardening aside and put up other things instead, such as siding on the house and a new roof on the shed. Neither of which yielded any tasty morsels or the deep satisfaction of feeding one’s self and one’s family. For two long years we went without our own fresh produce in the spring, summer and fall and preserved goods in the winter.

With our mandatory mundane responsibilities behind us, in 2006 we looked forward to a new year and a new garden. Dick has gardened with abandon since starting the first onion and leek seeds in the greenhouse back in February. Beginning with the lettuce in April, we have had a constant supply of fresh produce.

With the maturation of each crop, I have observed my new behavior… I no longer take for granted the gifts our garden provides; I no longer let the uneaten crops wither, rot or die. I am cooking daily and preserving the excess with glee.

I contemplate why I am taking such pleasure in tasks which I had come to resent. I believe that deprivation is a gratitude-maker. I believe that deprivation can teach us lessons in every aspect of our lives, not just in the microcosm of a home garden.