By Lisa Manterfield
A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about planting an asparagus bed. For me, this commitment to a long-term project signified a change in my outlook, and a sense that I had finally moved through a long period of uncertainty and could really think about my future.
I now have to confess that the asparagus suffered some neglect under my care. It grew and flowered, but then I ended up traveling a lot and by the end of the summer my poor bed was largely weeds, with a few brown plants.
I felt disappointed in myself for letting it go and I even questioned whether perhaps it was better that I didn’t become a mother, because how could I care for children if I couldn’t keep a few plants alive? Stop me if you’ve had this talk with yourself.
Then, over the winter, we had rain (not much, but some) and last month I spotted something green and delicious-looking among the weeds. Sure enough, I found six tender young asparagus shoots. I snipped them off, steamed them up, and ate them plain. It was by far the best asparagus I’ve ever tasted.
Given that my asparagus bed has become a metaphor for my journey through non-momhood, I’m looking for a message, and here’s what I see:
I see that even when the surface looks like a big, weedy, hopeless mess, something wonderful and hopeful might be going on underneath. I see that even the minimal amount of care can be enough to nurture something good. And I see that making a commitment to a future you want will result in something positive, even if the journey doesn’t go according to your plan.
And now I’m looking forward to next year, because those six spears have shown me possibility, and next year I know I’m going to have a bumper crop.