Today I picked spinach, lettuce, and rainbow chard. I probably have enough greens for 4 or 5 large salads or 10 side salads. It is November 21st. I am amazed.

I gave up on the garden about 3 weeks ago. Apparently it hasn’t given up on itself, though. That is one of the cheesiest sentences I have ever written. I should delete it, but I won’t.

I took these photos of the garden on November 2nd. I was getting ready to leave for a trip to Baltimore. I knew the garden would be dead when I got back, so I wanted to get a final fall garden shot or two.

We’d already had a few morning frosts, but Amelia covered our lettuce with plastic to protect it. The tomatoes hadn’t been turning red on the plant since August (although they would ripen once in the vegetable bowl on the table. These tasted better than the mid-July tomatoes). After a few frosts, they started getting weird, so Amelia pulled them up while I was in Baltimore. As far as I can tell, no one has been covering the spinach or the rainbow chard in the communal plot and it’s absolutely fine, surprisingly resilient against the multiple frosts we’ve had.

Since school (and life?) has (have) picked up, I have seriously neglected the garden (note the use of “Amelia + action verb,” but no use of “I + action verb”). I feel guilty, continually taking something that I have exerted minimal or no effort for. I don’t want it if I can’t take care of it. I don’t want to continue taking things unearned. Sometimes I even considering the act of going to the garden to pick lettuce or spinach as taxing. I lead a privileged life–picking free food is hard.

Today while picking lettuce, I started to feel rushed, like I should be at home writing my 25 page draft instead, so I started carelessly tearing off 3 or 4 pieces of lettuce at a time. It’s survived until the end of November, but the lettuce is more fragile than the spinach and after grabbing at it only a few times, I accidentally pulled up a chunk by the root. It looked so small.  I felt completely unappreciative.

When I read “Second Nature” by Michael Pollan this summer, I remember feeling shocked by what he said about fall and winter: by that time, he was ready for the garden to be gone, to die. I couldn’t believe it–a fellow nature/garden/local food enthusiast could never really want garden season to end.

In uprooting a small piece of it, my unappreciative nature was clear. Perhaps to no one but myself (and to it). I really do think it will be gone when I come back to Lawrence after Thanksgiving.

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