The last of the summer rain mists down on a Saturday farmer’s market. Damp and excited for my new garden, I hold the little promise of life cupped in my hands.
I asked for advice on the care and keeping of Kentucky mint. The answer: “Things are going to die,” the farmer said to me. “You just have to accept that.”
A week later, I’m dismayed to find a white worm sitting in the middle of my mint leaves, all the edges of the leaves brown and ragged from his chewing. He gets flushed down the toilet. My plant is lovingly pruned, given prayers: Don’t die so soon.
And another week later, there are seven or eight new little sprouts of unexpected mint poking up through the dirt (which was the wrong kind) despite the sun (which is not enough) and despite my watering (which is too much).
There are too many lessons to be found in gardening poorly. So I can just cherish this small one all to myself: that things are going to die, and when they don’t, that is my miracle.