Tuesday, June 11, 2013
The Stranger's Challenge - Part I
As I waited at the checkout counter with my wagon full of flowers and vegetables, an elderly gentleman approached me saying, "You have some nice things in that wagon". Seeing that he only had two items to pay for, I let him go ahead of me in line.
When he finished paying, he turned back to me and said, "You should really plant those tomatoes up to here", pointing to a spot a good four inches above the soil. "See all the fuzz? Each one is a root, waiting to take hold. If you cut off these bottom branches and plant your tomato deeper, you'll get a better yield. In fact, you can even bury this lowest branch and it will sprout as a root."
"Sure enough. But if you don't believe me, why don't you plant one tomato deep and plant the other one as is and see what happens?"
When I got home, I cut the bottom branches off a tomato plant, dug a deep hole, and planted it as the gentleman suggested.
Later, with my feet up and a glass of wine in hand I wondered, Why am I so willing to experiment in my garden at the suggestion of a complete stranger? Was it because the gentleman was so kindly? Was the notion of an experiment so appealing? Why didn't I care about the time and money spent on the tomato? I love fresh tomatoes; I feel like I'm biting into a piece of the sun every time I eat a freshly picked tomato. I would be disappointed if there weren't any in my garden. But instead of worrying about whether the experiment will work or whether I killed the plant, I'm excited to see if it's successful. I can't wait to find out.
Now why don't I apply that same excitement to my artwork? Why am I so hesitant, it seems, to explore the "what if"?
The gentleman stranger's tomato challenge struck a chord. In my next post, I'll describe how it manifested itself over the weekend and changed my plans.