Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Way back in April, after I planted a handful of tomato plants hoping for some kind of return, we happened upon this lone fellow.

Not too long after we discovered him, we were fascinated. We would look forward to the mornings and run out to the garden just to check on him, to make sure he survived the brutal night time. In the heat of the day we researched about exactly who this guy was. We knew he was a tomato hornworm (turns out, around these parts, he's a tobacco hornworm) and that when he reaches some magic point in his development, he will journey to the dark underground and continue his development process. Then he would dig from his underground tomb, hatch from his brown papery mummy-wrap, and become a beautiful hummingbird moth.

Many years ago, I would write stories to friends. I made sure the stories were just 1000 words knowing that many of my friends worked and had just a few minutes to read whatever I wrote. I was pregnant with my 3rd child and a stay at home mom and worked part time with children. But I was outside every day, not matter what. This was long before I began blogging. I consciously decided to write these vignettes for one year, to the day. A year in the life on our 1/2 acre of land. I ended up with a 250 page manuscript that sits on my shelf today... maybe some day it will become more than a file folder on a shelf. But it chronicled a year of life in my front yard that I don't think everyone has time to notice.

One story I remember as I look at this photo--the first year my garden was new, I grew lots of tomato plants. I was so proud of them--even though it's a raised bed, the plants grow well over my head which allowed a great viewing perspective. And the hornworms came, not one, not two, but many. And I was excited. Who has ever been lucky enough to watch these guys live and grow? In the mornings I would water the gardens and there they all would be, near the tops of the plants, head and first few feet leaning just a bit backward, curled like an emerging fern frond. At that moment, in the early morning light, they were in prayer, heads bowed, hands folded. And at that moment my garden monks prayers were lifting, rising with the warming air, to the skies and beyond.