1992

GARDENING
FINDING YOUR MARBLES

I'm writing to thank you so much for writing your book on the Perelandra Garden!

I was looking through a new seed catalog and saw the title Perelandra Garden Workbook. I saw "workbook" and thought, now I can learn to garden the way it "should" be done. I had put in a 12-foot-by-12-foot plot in our little urban backyard when we bought our house four years ago. Since then, I've planted what my family likes to eat, often times disregarding the instructions on the back of the seed packets because I can't plant all I want if I follow their directions. Even though the garden has thrived, it hit me hard after last year's five-foot marigold, ten-foot corn and twelve-inch midget carrots that I really needed to know more.

Fortunately both the seeds and the book arrived during a rainy period or I wouldn't have taken the time to read the book before planting. But I did, and was overwhelmed by all I needed to familiarize myself with. I was also struck with an incredible case of doubts about whether or not such a thing could be real.

So I decided to try it as an experiment. As I began to get incredibly detailed instructions of what to plant, where, in what numbers and to such a finite level, I really began to wonder if I wasn't just talking to myself and making up this incredibly complex diagram based on a shifting electrical current in myself.

I began to test. Since the garden rows were to be circular and then divided into four sections, I decided not to measure the actual feet and inches that made up each section of a row. Since my geometry is poor, I was certain that I couldn't come up with accurate lengths, especially from the graph paper.

Needless to say, after inputting four inches of carrots, thirteen inches of tomatoes, twenty-two inches of shiso and so on, I went out with string to get the actual measurements. They matched precisely. (Input Twilight Zone theme song here.) But that wasn't enough. No, I couldn't explain it, but my skepticism was really fighting hard. I sat down and thought hard about what would be a test I'd accept. The idea of a marble came to mind. For the past three years, I've found a marble in the garden. The first year it was a clear blue one. The second year, a steel marble. Last year, a white and brown opaque one. Even though I've meticulously turned the soil each year, and have only found three, I thought maybe some child had lost her bag of marbles long ago in that area. Then, this year my daughter found a ceramic marble.

I decided to ask if the marble had been a gift, a sign that I wasn't alone, and was told yes. So I decided to ask for a marble. I was told I would most definitely find my marble this year.

Well, wanting very badly to believe in a partnership with nature on an intelligent level, I began to scour that little plot for my marble. I planted the seeds and handled the dirt greedily. Nothing. So again I asked if I'd be getting a marble, this time being more specific, a marble in the garden. "Yes."

Off to the side of the garden is a long area where I usually plant zucchini. I was told to turn the soil and take out the weeds. Now I had told my husband Bob what was going on and he wasn't having any of my doubts. He just said, "Have faith, you were told yes. And what's the worst that can happen? You have a unique, beautiful garden you can enjoy." Not to mention I learned a lot about my resistance areas. But his acceptance didn't help me. I spent hours turning the soil in that short side patch, crumbling the soil to dust. Bob laughed hysterically. So much work for something that will come without effort. I had become so disappointed that I even thought about throwing in a marble myself.

The next day, when I went out to sit in the little spot I'd been "given" in the garden for sitting and talking or just focusing, I got a flash of my eldest daughter, Nicole. She'll ask the same question such as, "Are we having strawberries for dessert?", starting at 10:00 A.M. until I'm crazy at 4:00 P.M. I heard myself say, "I told you yes, and I won't forget. You'll get strawberries for dessert. Now stop bugging me."

After I stopped laughing, I asked if the marble was already in the garden. "No." I apologized for my behavior and decided it really didn't mater. I was committed and I intended to carry through, even if it meant talking to myself all summer.

I pulled out my measuring stick, the packet of cucumbers, and knelt down to begin planting. When I got to the end of the row and went back to cover in the dirt, right there, on top of the first cucumber hole, was my marble. Pretty amazing!

So thanks again. You have opened a whole new, mysterious, exciting level of living for me.

— S.Z., Minnesota