Eternity

A garden brings the promise of life to come: this pomegranate tree whispers fall secrets in your ear, calling you forward in time. So does this fig:

See? Can’t you imagine yourself eating this sometime in July? And how about these:

Summer oranges! Each of these fruits lure us with the promise of the future. I’ve always wondered if that’s part of the attraction of gardening: looking forward. There’s always next year, the coming season, another seed packet or six-pack of vegetables. I have a lilac bush that hasn’t bloomed once during the seven years it’s been in the ground — now I’m giving it until Year Eight. But with that patience and willingness to wait and see, I’m also giving myself a ticket to next year.

Amanda Hesser, the New York Times food editor and cookbook author, wrote of her life in France in a book called “The Cook and the Gardener,” a beautiful series of essays and recipes. A pivotal character in the book is Monsieur Milbert, the elderly and curmudgeonly gardener of the Burgundian chateau where she worked. Messr. Milbert toils ceaselessly throughout the seasons; it’s his ticket to eternity because there is always more work to be done.

So — next year — I’m putting in my lettuces sooner …

… and maybe planting some winter crops. Because there is always a next year in the garden.

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