Nope, I did not find human remains in my garden plot. I didn't
even find live children playing in there. What I'm talking about is
the Siamese onion I pulled out of my soil this week during a
particularly fruitful harvest.
It had two huge shoots, and I thought I was pulling two separate
onions. To my surprise, two smallish and oddly connected onions
popped out. They had grown too close together, no doubt because I
planted them too close together this spring. Technically, my then
3-year-old son was doing the dropping-in of the onion bulbs, so I
guess I could blame him on this one. But, I won't. I'm not trying
to blame anyone, or even to suggest that there is something
inherently wrong with my Siamese onion twins.
Here's their cousin(s), Extra Heads Tomato, as I called
What's going on here? I've recently heard about the French trend
of embracing ugly produce. OK. I like heirloom tomatoes with their
colorful streaks and odd plump shapes. I'm in. What's the big deal
with how many lobes my vegetables have? I'm just going to eat them
anyways. After a few chomps of the teeth, any tomato is going to be
a total train wreck of juice, seeds, and goo.
This spring, when I planted my vegetables, I tried to open
myself to what the garden wanted. Peppers over there? Sure.
Potatoes in vertical containers? Alright. Make a 6-foot-tall wall
of rusty metal for the snap peas to climb? You got it.
In my Daoist journey to become more natural, harmonious, and
simply of less resistance to the energy of the universe, I
tried to be mindful that the garden didn't need to look perfect.
Whatever it was -- that would be perfect. I don't know if was the
Dao De Jing or the Tai Chi, but over the past couple of years, I've
realized that I intervene too much. I need to spend more time with
my mouth shut and my energy open.
As a bad artist in junior high school, I heard and repeated the
phrase, "Nature isn't perfect, so you don't have to be," and used
this mantra as my own whenever my mountain and tree scenes came out
all wrong. Bob Ross would not have been proud. My little trees were
not happy. They always looked upside down and sad. I was forcing
them. I was forcing them to be perfect, with each branch directly
across from another. The result was that it never looked right. It
never looked real.
As the season progresses, the trimester break approaches, and
the peppers and tomatoes ripen, I remind myself that it is perfect.
It doesn't have to look like it, but it...just...is.