The Importance of Not

There’s something about planting season that fills me with a strong sense of incompetence. Planting consists mostly of taking near-microscopic spheres, putting them in a pile of dirt, throwing water on top of that dirt, and walking away. There’s something divinely incompetent about the whole thing. When we usually say “bury it,” we mean, “throw the thing away.” Forget about it. Planting is a foreign world. I love sowing seeds, but as soon as they are buried, I’m overwhelmed with the anticlimactic adrenaline rush. That’s it? Now I just… stop… doing things?

A pile of dirt.

A pile of dirt.

Today I planted potatoes. Before I planted them, there was a pile of dirt. After I planted them, there was a slightly looser pile of dirt. Sure, I cover cropped last fall and put in manure and worked the soil, but the progress is almost invisible. It’s that act of walking away from the garden that feels so strange.

The best thing I can do is nothing. I wait a few months, and then bam! potatoes. I spend most of my time not doing a thing in order to get a thing. After spending three intense, all-consuming years in graduate school to get a very specific job, it’s difficult for my merit-based mindset to understand. Continue reading

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