Monday, May 21, 2007

Back to the Earth

On Saturday I woke up at 5:30am, drove to the University of Minnesota and helped run an end of the year celebration for about 1,000 sophomore, junior and senior high school students. It's the culmination of a year of really hard work that has yet again paid off - so far this year, 98% of our students have been admitted to college. It's inspiring. It's emotional. It's exhausting. After a celebratory round (or two or three) of beers with my fellow staff members, I headed home and was dead asleep by 9:30pm.

The exhaustion didn't stop there. I woke up on Sunday morning feeling okay, but within a few hours of waking up, all I wanted to do was go back to sleep. Unfortunate, since I'd completely forgotten that I'd agreed to go plant a vegetable garden with Dan's mom out at Dan's brother's house.

I've been looking forward to this garden for a long time. Last summer, the previous owner of the property had already planted it when Dan's brother moved in, and all summer the garden produced the best tomatoes I've ever eaten. There aren't words to describe them. I eagerly volunteered to ensure the existence of more tomatoey deliciousness this summer.

I should tell you that I grew up in the city, and believe that produce comes from the produce section of the grocery store. If you're really super conscientious, it will come from the produce section of a co-op grocery store. I have killed each and every plant that I've ever owned, except for one. This may not be saying much because I've only attempted to own three or so. And I have never, ever, gotten down on my knees in the dirt and planted a garden. But I sure did yesterday. We planted tomatoes, green beans, cucumbers, beets, peas, corn, potatoes, green peppers, watermelon, cantaloupe, and zinnias (yes, I know those aren't vegetables). I saw big, gross bugs. I got dirt under my fingernails and in my shoes and in between my toes. I got stabbed with prickly plants. And I loved every second of it. I've also discovered that gardening is great for the butt and thighs, if the pain I'm in today is any indication.

I forgot to take a picture of the garden after we'd finished planting, but I am so excited to see what springs forth from the earth in the next couple of weeks - and in a couple of months, I may be eating nothing but tomatoes.

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