Living in Houston is part of our roughly five year plan focused on maximizing some specific areas of family growth and development. We are in this house we've bought, settling in and making it home, knowing that we'll only be here a few years before moving on.
Each major decision comes with the teeter totter of is it worth it --- is it not? Will the amount of benefit we get in two years be worth the expense? Is the effort going to pay off? Will we get our money out of the investment?
Most trees take several years to really start fruiting. The first few years are about root development, and pushing energy into the tree's foundation. Even if the tree produced fruit right away, you are supposed to pluck it off and toss it away, to concentrate the energy into the roots.
Many gardeners have asked me "why are you planting fruit trees you won't harvest fruit from?", knowing that this garden will start to come in strong right about the time I am swinging the gate closed and walking away.
Growing isn't all about the harvest. I mean, it is, and it isn't. Watching a dormant twig begin to swell and burst into a bud is a marvel, and seeing those first tiny bright green leaves push out in spring is amazing. When a leek seed germinates, and sends its green point knifing up through the soil, I feel a deep satisfaction.
Gardening isn't only about the end result. It is about the process of nurturing life, and being a witness and a partner to creation.
Parenting has been hard this last year. I've had to recalibrate my metric for success. Instead of a far off happy ending, all kids grown and peacefully settled into health and prosperity, I am focusing on the way I can chanel the energy of each day. I am watching each tiny bud swell and burst into life. I am doing my best to prune back unwanted growth, and train in a better direction.
Life has been hard this last year. In a roomful of joyful revelers, lifting their glasses in hope and anticipation, I looked at 2015 with my heart muttering "I just hope I make it".
Planting a seed, planting a tree, raising a child, getting up in the morning, is not all about a promised bountiful harvest. It is about choosing to live, choosing to grow, choosing to hope, again, and again, and again.
I get my hands dirty, and blacken my knees kneeling on earth, dirt streaks my forehead after I swipe my hair aside, I hover over tiny sprouts and blooms, I hope. In each house, and each move, and each garden I've done it again and again. It is how I stay most alive. It is how I believe. I might not gather fruit from these trees, but tending them will fill my heart for the years I am here.