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Monday, July 4, 2016

A Pocket Of Peace In My Balcony Garden

It's been another rough week for news, with horrific attacks in Turkey, Iraq, and Bangladesh, to name a few awful incidents.  I think terrible incidents seem more poignant to most of us when they happen in places where we've been.  I've been to the Istanbul airport a few times, most recently in August 2014, when Scott and I were en route to Kazakhstan for the first time.  I remember how exhausted I felt at the time, and how conflicted I was about our move overseas.  I remember trying to decide if I had enough energy to stand in line to buy a snack or bottle of water from one of the airport vendors.  The thoughts and misgivings I had at the time seemed like a big deal to me at the time, but they seem so inconsequential now.

I think we all need a measure of peace in our lives, and my tiny balcony garden provides some of that peace for me.  We didn't have a balcony in our apartment in Kazakhstan (or weather that was conducive to growing things for most of the year) so I was excited to have some plants when we came back.  The planter on the left has basil and mint.  It originally also had cilantro, but I made a tactical error in planting it between two plants with dreams of world domination.  It never got enough sunlight because the mint and basil shot up so quickly.  Eventually, I found it mostly uprooted between the two plants, perhaps as a victim of some sort of underground root warfare.  So, next year, I'll have to be sure not to crowd the cilantro.  I'm thrilled with the basil, though:  It's already provided us with two batches of pesto this summer.

The other planter contains zebra green tomatoes and eggplant.  As may or may not be visible in my photo, the tomato plant already has a couple of tomatoes.  The eggplant had a very pretty purple flower that I am hoping will turn into an actual eggplant at some point.

When I get home from work, checking on the plants is one of the first things I do.  I water them, pinch top leaves from the mint and basil, and check for new flowers on the tomato and eggplant.  On a nearly daily basis, I can observe the plants growing.  The plants give me something to look forward to, in the form of fresh food.  I'm already dreaming of a larger container garden for next summer, even though I'm not entirely sure where we will be living then.  This tiny garden, amazingly enough, is providing me with a routine, a feeling of accomplishment, and a goal in a very uncertain and troubled world.

Wishing my American friends and family a happy, peaceful Independence Day!

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