Spring in Chicago comes about June 1 if we’re lucky. A few days before, say between May 15 and 31, I stick six tomato plants in the ground and poke a few sunflower seeds into the soil. Every year I try a different vegetable. Last year, it was spaghetti squash and acorn squash. This year, it’s kale. Don’t ask me why kale; I think it was because I heard it was easy. I also think the rabbits and squirrels might go for the kale over my tomatoes. And to outwit squirrels and rabbits can be very satisfying.
I plant. And then I wait. I am an impatient person. For verification on that, ask my colleagues and husband. If I send you an email, and you don’t respond within an hour or two, I firmly believe you are ignoring me. I won’t bug you about it; but I might sulk a little.
So waiting for tomatoes to come to fruit and sunflowers to rise to their towering 12-foot height is problematic for me. But every summer, I create the same issue for myself. Every summer I plant, and every summer I live in hope those plants will honor me (and my friends who also like eating my tomatoes, even when they are green).
In the mornings as I walk through my backyard to my garage, I survey the garden’s progress. I stand and Iook and calculate when I might be able to eat a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich.
I find it interesting how weeds can manage rapid growth while sunflowers and tomatoes lounge and bask and relax, taking all the time they need.
I should also try to relax as I wait. Last year, I plucked the spaghetti and acorn squash from their vines far before they were ready. They looked just fine, but they tasted like basketballs. Lounging, relaxing and basking has its advantages. I should try it. Maybe sitting on my deck, with a cold beverage, while I’m looking up kale recipes.
What do you do to lounge, bask and relax during the summer months?
Terri Lackey is managing editor of Gather magazine.