Growing an Allegory
Generally, we all know what a garden is…it is a little patch of dirt we fool around with as a hobby, most likely, so we can grow some vegetables, fruits or flowers. The benefits become obvious after all the work is done and we see what we have done. We might eat the vegetables or fruits and clip the flowers to brighten up our world. We may even store some of the bounty so that we can enjoy the warm benefits in the long, cold winter. Seems simple, right?
But, for a moment, let’s broaden the idea. What does it take to get those benefits? Do we just wave a little wand and suddenly there are sprouts growing out of the ground? And, then do we just wait around until the beans and corn are ready? Hardly, I say.
First, we have to have a dream, a spark or at least a scant idea of what we want the garden to bring us in the end. Once we have that in our mind, then we have to look around and see where we can grow that garden. Will we need just a little box outside our window sill, or a little square out our back door? Maybe we will need a big pasture to grow the thing in.
Perhaps there are vermin in the area that eat our dream right up. We might better put up some barriers, like a fence, to protect our little project. There is nothing like waking up in the morning to find some night visitor has eaten you dream right out of existence! Truly, if this happens to us, the feelings of our loss can’t be expressed with mere words.
Now we have an idea and place to cultivate our dream. Could it be time for the magic wand now? Au contraire, mon frère… Now we have to see about the ground. Is it fertile for our dream? Is it full of rocks or roots to hamper our dream? We might have to work very hard to improve or remove such hindrances that could block a route to our goal. I tell you true, there is no magic to removing rocks! But if we want to have our garden, they will have to go. Our little sprouts will fall to them if we leave them there.
Now we have to plow the ground. We can’t just throw seeds out to the wind and expect a well-developed garden to just spring up, now can we? Of course not, we have to plan a layout so that we can provide the best conditions to make each plant have its maximum chance of growing into a full producer. If the ground is not just right in nutrients, we will have to become scientist and make chemical adjustments to assure the best chances for our little seeds grow into something useful.
With all the preparation done, now we need the specific seeds that will grow the things we want. Any old garden can, and will, grow weeds. But we can’t eat the weeds. We need exact seed types to gain our end objective. We select the seeds that fit our needs and then we plant them in the prepared soil. Okay, now we are ready to sit back and wait…
Well, maybe that isn’t quite the case, let’s see what might be needed, yet. The seeds will need water and they will need food. If seeds could grow without these things, they would grow right out of the seed package with no work required. But, generally, that isn’t the case. Too, there are those pesky weeds that popped up in the previous paragraph, just like they will in our well-planned garden.
These weeds will have to be removed as quickly as they appear. They will be slow at first, fooling us into thinking we can wait until next week to pull them up, after all, that is a lot of work, and there are just a few of them. We don’t fall for it, and we go ahead and do the work now. If we don’t, the weeds will multiply and soon be out of control. They will move in right next door to our beautiful emerging plants, masquerading as innocent, harmless plants, all the while spreading their sinister roots out to steal precious water and food from the young, tender roots of the seeds we planted. Soon the new plants will begin to look a little off, then they will look a little sick and, of course, then they will die with no regard to how well we conceived, planned and started our garden. If we eradicate the weeds, once again we have given the plants we desire to have the best chances of success.
Whew, that was close. Surely, now, we can just let things happen form here. All that hard work in now behind us, right? Sorry, but no. Now we have to maintain and cultivate, water and feed our new plants as they mature into what we desired in the first place. The weeds will keep trying all summer long to invade our paradise. Too, the bugs will want to munch on our delicious greenery, after all, it will be succulent, green and ever-so tempting to them. We might have to slip our scientist garden clogs back on now and then. Then we will have to become Dr. Frankenstein as we build and install our own monster to stand watch out there against those pesky crows, and the like, from causally dropping by to peck at our hard-won produce.
Before you know it, it will be the end of the season. The days are a little shorter, and it isn’t quite as hot and humid anymore. Now, truly, most of the hard work is behind us. We dreamed of what we wanted. We picked a place for it. We protected it from all those that wanted to steal or kill it. We nurtured it at every turn. Finally, we have the literal fruits of all our labor. We get to do the last labor, and most rewarding by harvesting our dream. As we are sitting back in our house and we are looking at our bountiful table and our full freezer and our well stocked shelves, we see the real value of all the labor that had been done to bring the garden into being. We decide it had been worth every drop of sweat, every ounce of effort to make such a beautiful thing.
It is true, these steps to a garden, but it describes something else, too. The steps are the same for the creative process. I love both of these things very much, and points to the belief that I have that everything is connected. Even this piece I have written followed the process. I had a seed that was the idea, and I cultivated it into this work!