But they had begun to chaff at their confinement. Stems and leaves that only days ago had looked vibrant and virile now seemed to languish in their cells -- not quite wilting, but despondent; as though weary from running into walls. I am not so old that I couldn't remember the feeling. It was time to kick them out of the nest.
By week’s end they had all been transplanted -- freed from their cups and given over to their innate capacities. And all the good and evil that await them.
The depths of soil.
The movement of wind.
The nourishment of rain.
The crowding and predations of other creatures struggling to survive.
The training wheels are off. Foreshadowing the inevitable bumps and scrapes, pea-sized hail peppered that first exposed evening. Yesterday we chased out an interloping rabbit, and this morning the thunder is slinging down the rain -- the first of several days of forecasted rain. Who knows if it will prove too much?
Gardening is a lot like parenting I have heard others say -- the intrinsic tension between protecting and setting free -- and I feel that conflicted twinge of parental apprehension. There is, after all, a certain security in the greenhouse, but those 2-inch birthing boxes do not lend themselves to bearing fruit. They can't stay protected --confined -- forever.
And now it is accomplished. There is still a part for me to play -- weeding, trussing, feeding on occasion and managing the moisture -- but the real work, moving forward, is up to them. Any fruit will be up to them, and the growing season is barely begun.
Outside, the plants already look somehow healthier; stronger, despite the perils of their first days in the elements -- or because of them. It’s too early to know what is happening with the seeds, but as for the seedlings, the transplanted children of winter nurture, they -- we -- are off to a good start.