Wednesday, June 30, 2010


A few months ago, while I was in Germany visiting family, I spent an afternoon with my cousin and her adorably gorgeous 1-year-old. She had been home with him for the first year, but had recently started studying again, so her son was spending days in daycare while she hit the books.

She told me how, after that first day away from him, when she picked him up from daycare, she could tell that he had changed. In those few hours she had been away, he had had experiences, had learned things that she wasn't there to witness, had been alive and grown and developed. This difference in her son was obvious to her, the fact that he was older and more worldly. She told me she had this same sensation often when she picked him up from daycare. In contrast to the first year of his life, during which she spent every moment with him, observing and being a part of every little triumph and setback, she now had the opportunity to gain perspective and see her son at intervals. Even if those intervals were only for a few hours.

[Carrot plants]

I didn't quite buy it. A day is just a day, I thought. People, even babies, don't change that fast. I thought, my cousin is sweet who is that attached to her son, but surely there was no true visible change in him after a single day apart. It was an appealing notion, but I wasn't convinced that's the way the world works.

Remember how I had big plans to plant a vegetable garden a while back?

I did - I planted the tomato plants I had started inside, I planted carrots, I planted spring onions, I planted chives, I planted squash. I watered the seeds and looked after them. Everything started sprouting after a few weeks, all except for the squash.

[Carrot plants]

I figured I hadn't planted them in the right kind of earth, that they needed warmer weather than what's available in Norway, that squash just wasn't my thing.

One day, though, I went out to my veggie garden, pulled back the fiber cloth I had covered the seeds with, and there were two big leafy green leaves sticking out of the ground. The night before, literally 12 hours earlier, there had been nothing there, just dirt and a few stray weeds. And then POOF: a plant. Not just an inkling of a stub. A full plant. Out of nowhere.

[Squash plant]

These living things, these things that grow, these humans, these plants, these animals, they are incredible, these things are. Just POOF and they grow.

I don't doubt my cousin's sentiment now. Babies change, they grow, they gradually become adults. Obviously. I just hadn't been around one enough to know that this progress is noticeable at certain times in their lives. Bit by little bit, they secretly transform before your very eyes, but sometimes it's not a secret. A day can be an awful long time when you haven't been around to experience that many of them.

[Tomato plant]

Before you know it, I'll be telling you all about tomato and squash and carrot and spring onion recipes, brought to you by the phenomenon that is time.

Nothing like a vegetable garden to teach you about the miracle of life.

1 comment:

Alex said...

Amazing how fast they grow up, isn't it? Seems like just yesterday he was a sprout, and now here we are eating him for dinner... :)