The hardest job of the gardener is when too many sprouts come up. Here is the incredible pain of the Great Mama — deciding who lives and who dies.
Even in fertile times, life is built upon a cycle of creation, preservation, and destruction (a more palatable word for death). Death and birth are lifelong companions, engaged in the kind of tango that isn’t clear who’s leading whom. Squashed in between is the force of preservation, who plays the role of a nun at a Catholic school dance, making sure the two powerful forces don’t eclipse one another.
Death always gives way to more life — after a river floods, a volcano erupts, an egotistical mindset checked, the soil is made stronger from the minerals of the bloodshed. Without this kind of destruction, we would never eat.
Knowing that death always makes way for new life doesn’t make it any easier to face. Every spring I will mourn the carrots I have plucked and tossed into the compost. If I allow my bleeding heart to burst apart when something has come to the end of its cycle, I grow a mess of tangled roots that are impossible to make into dinner.