My father’s garden is a labour of love that bears magnificent results. To him, it’s in season all year long because that is how often he thinks about it. He dreams about tilling the soil during the bitter cold of winter. His planning doesn’t wait for the snow to melt.
It’s the place where we learned not only to love vegetables, but respect them. It’s the place where nothing goes to waste. It’s amazing how much space can be freed in the freezer for vegetables. Creamy bowls of tomato soup were savoured in the winter before figure skating practices giving me enough energy to perfect my salchow or sit spin. Various spinach and squash dishes served at dinner. These are only some of the examples of the cherished childhood memories that stay with me.
My father’s garden is the place that connects him to roots that go far beyond the soil. It is a pervasive space in every sense. It’s the topic of joyful conversation on numerous occasions. It’s not an innocuous topic that fills awkward silences. Family and friends who ask about it genuinely want to know how it’s growing and thriving. My father’s garden is the place where dreams of fresh flavours are realized and thoroughly enjoyed.
Much to his dismay, the garden is a haven for unwanted backyard visitors. But all creatures need to eat somehow. That dismay never stops him from pouring more love and hopes into the garden. It’s this unfailing love and hope that keeps the garden bearing its abundance.
It’s the place where I muster the courage to overcome my fear of encountering snakes so I can admire the gorgeous hues of the purple spinach, the lush verdant green of zucchini, and the generous tomato plants. All while enjoying the gentle breeze in a quiet and contemplative state. It’s my 100 foot journey toward bliss. My love for all things local started here. My inner Anna Olson comes out as I think of the possibilities that can be conjured up in my mother’s kitchen.
Above all, my father’s garden is the place that nourishes the body and soul. I am thankful for that all it has been and all that it will be.