Friday, June 8, 2012

Seeing into the future: corn & corn husks

One of the most rewarding things about a garden is the way it teaches you to see into the future, its future and your own future.  I was sitting on my front porch, waiting for a friend (who has still yet to show), when I looked at my foot-high corn and realized that this fall those corn plants will yield the corn husks I will need to make tamales.  Today is the eighth of June, but for a moment I was in August, shucking that corn and saving the husks.  I pinned the husks the cross-beams of my porch to dry in the sun.  I ran backward through the months of summer to fetch my camera inside this house.  Now I am here with all my anxiety and all my fears about a more distant future, one that I cannot see.

There's the porch where my corn husks will hang in 90 days or so.  Vegetable gardens are fortune tellers, but they tend to be short-sighted.  What they can show you of your future, for all the pleasure there is in the seeing, is limited to your actions and your perceptions, the things you will see and do.  They don't say anything about your heart, your finances, your love life or your health.  The garlic that is going to seed in the middle ground will be gone.  I know that I will pull it in under a month, but I don't know what will be worrying me on the day I do.  Perhaps this is what's so seductive about a garden—it's a place where you can throw your imagination, a place where you can be a stronger person than you are.  When I imagined those future tamale wrappers, I did not go forward into that future with any of today's baggage.  It was only upon coming back from the future to sit at this desk and think that I projected those bags into the future.  So much, alas, of how we feel about ourselves is based on how we expect to feel and how we've felt in the past.  A garden, too, can show you the past.

Mainly a garden can show you which way the wind has been blowing.  It's hard to tell from this picture, but all of my twenty-something corn plants are leaning in the same direction.  They are leaning, more or less, to the South.  Corn plants do not have deep root systems that keep them strictly upright, and so they tend to lean.  In another world governed by principles completely unlike those that govern this world, you might find corn fields in which each plant leans in its own special direction, but we live in this world.  In this world there are no separate winds, nor can we change the direction the wind has blown in the past.  Incidentally, we can't really change how it will blow in the future, but this is where the wind ceases being a metaphor and becomes mere weather.  

Perhaps in a month I shall be married.  I highly doubt it.  Perhaps, too, I shall be a millionaire.  If I were a millionaire, I would probably quit my on-line teaching job, but that's about the only thing that would change.  It's funny to think that sadness and joy alike are things we willfully carry through this life.  But I should be less bleak today.  The sun is out and the temperatures are warming.  I do, indeed, have tomatoes and corn to look forward to.  You do as well.     


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hello. And Bye.