Betsky Reflection, My Garden by Elisabeth Pearson

I took a walk to my garden in the back of yard in Long Island. I have six plots of soil. The first is filled with herbs, including velvety sage leaves, chives, bushels of mint, and strands of fragrant lavender. The next plot has wide flat broccoli plants and carrots stemming from the wet soil. The next two include uncontrollable massive mustard greens, purple kale, strawberries, and tomatoes. The Last two plots are growing long watermelon vines, stalky corn, and little pepper plants.  My family just built our house and it is my first time gardening/being exposed to a garden. Because I love cooking and am interested in where produce comes from, gardening has been an incredible experience for me. Gardening in a way is the origin story to a dish, or a recipe, much like the waterways and system are to the Netherlands. Betsky writes, “Nature, both internal and external, has always caused the Dutch to feel ambivalent. The land around them they can control but the sky and water remain indomitable” (pg 16). While that is a uniquely Dutch experience, my admiration for nature, cultivating, and trying to control it is incredibly rewarding. Manipulating vegetables to slow its production of leaves or trimming and pruning infected leaves to help nature create the best form of itself, is perhaps, a similar feeling to how Betsky and locals feel about the history of Netherlands geography. However, sometimes plants die and they fail. I always question whether that could have been avoided or what I could have done more to ‘control’ nature to yield the results I wanted. But as Betsky concludes, some parts of earth are ‘indomitable’ by design.


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