At the start of December 2012, I flew from Iowa to Washington, D.C. with two suitcases of clothes and my journalism and French degrees. My boyfriend, Trev, met me at Union Station, and we took a taxi to a row house where I was renting a bedroom. The next week, I found myself employed as a full-time server at a restaurant up the street.
Now that it is springtime here on Capitol Hill, I miss the Iowa garden. It could be my longing for a cat or the fact that I miss being asked to go out to the garden to pick fresh mint for the fruit salad. When I moved to an apartment that actually had a sunny front and back patio, I wanted to use it all up.
I started buying seeds and planning my container garden. I used to call it a pot garden until I realized I sounded naive. Like when I went to a corner store to buy some starter plants, and I could hear the inner narrative of the salesperson who had already asked me where I was from: “Ha ha, the little Iowa girl said pot.” After the first sow, my dad asked me in an email if I was having fun playing in the dirt.
The night after that, Trev was helping me pull weeds and churn up the front yard to make it look better. One of the girls who lives above me walked up the steps after what I can only assume was a hard day as an intern on “The Hill.” She looked at us like we were foreign, in our sweatshirts and gym shorts, squatting close to the earth. I clutched my plastic hand trowel, and soil rained down as Trev shook the uprooted weeds that hung from each fist. “I’m just playing in the dirt,” he said. A person walking by laughed out loud.
That’s all that I’m doing with this blog and my gardening ventures. I feel connected to my family and to my home state. And I feel like I’m just making things up as I go – playing garden and going outside in the morning to “survey the crops,” as Trev puts it. I’ve explored new ideas and ways to recycle while gardening. I have started a composting bin and will soon be the proud owner of 500 healthy earthworms. I couldn’t remember the last time I had dirt under my fingernails until now. It has been fun and amazing so far. Keep reading and enjoy!