A Good Type of Grounded

Upon my return to the suburbs after my first year of college in the Big Apple, exhausted from finals and non-stop texts and emails, I decided to reunite myself with the ground. Grass. Dirt. Nature. Life.

One night at dinner I announced my plans to grow vegetables — and maybe some flowers too. My dad sprung to the defense of his manicured lawn: “You’re not planning on digging up the grass. Are you??” I rolled my eyes and sighed, “No, of course not. I’ll use planters.” My mom beamed at the idea, chiming in at how she’d really like that and how sweet it would be to have a little garden.

A hot, overcast June day, I drove to the local nursery. The pavement outside the store was covered with rows of seedlings and bags of soil. After twenty minutes of deciding between bush or romano beans and heirloom or regular tomatoes I carefully placed my seedlings into the back of my mom’s SUV and drove home, invigorated by the adrenaline of a new project.

— — —

Six huge terra cotta pots sit at the edge of our patio, orange squash blossoms and green tomatoes peak out from the leaves, which are both smooth and fuzzy, some hole ridden — an inchworm epidemic that I combat with a spray bottle of vinegar and pepper flakes. The soil smells sweet and the plants are strong and crisp, a different green from that of the grass behind it.

There is something refreshing about caring for a living being. Something that also provides nourishment. Our lives are dominated by technology, so working with just dirt and roots and leaves provides a therapeutic activity in between Snapchat stories and Instagram profiles and Facebook messages. It’s physically in front of you, and real and has needs that you tend to and help. And you can see a progression and growth.

I’ve decided that if the whole filmmaker thing doesn’t work out, I’m moving to the countryside and working the land, living off what I can grow. But for now, I’ll stick with my potted plants, and maybe I’ll bring some back to the city and start a fire escape garden.

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