This is the summer of growing my own produce. And I, in humility, have embraced my role as a random gardener.

That is not to say that I didn’t begin with a plan. After all, I scribble lists for everything from plot lines to characters, groceries to poems. But this year, I believed I had drawn up the perfect plan for the garden beds. With the help of my daughter and her incredibly strong husband, we emptied the compost bin of years of accummulated new soil into the existing dirt and reworked the two in-ground raised beds. The wooden surrounds had deteriorated so badly that they had to be recycled.  Then, fulfilling an earlier wish of mine, Dana and Ren assisted in adding a third bed(see photo above). Once the hard work was done, I sowed seeds – peas, spinach, lettuce, green onions, carrots – in neat rows, and set out four tomato plants in precise locations in the newest bed. Note the tomato forest currently expanding in the photograph. Of course, once the real work was done, I, like every farmer ever, waited for Mama Nature to do her thing. Ah, therein lies the mystery.

Unrestrained by any human plan, Mother went on a growing frenzy! The rows I planted straight and long meandered outside the lines. While cages confined the tomatoes, secret redesigning took place. Mysterious sproutings from seeds I did not plant appeared around and about the leveled ground. Unidentified greenlings unfurled at light speed every morning when I went to check the beds.

First, it was the mushrooms. Just after dawn, the dirt would bristle with fungi, their shapes and sizes random and lovely and possibly edible, but I, knowing nothing about the good and the bad mushies, choose not to harvest any. Their frenzy lasted only until the sun arrived, spreading golden warmth and wilting their varied stalks. Soon, other unknown sprouts reached toward the surface. Suddenly, the neat order I had so carefully cultivated was consumed by chaos. A pepper here. A potato plant there. Parsley in cracks around the base of the beds. More tomatoes!

The wild and the wildly exciting nature of this year’s gardens conducted a symphony of generation. I watch in awesome gratitude this randomness of the flora world and lift my thanks to the abundance it provides.

When you think about it, my garden reflects the act of creativity inherent in the writer’s soul. Sometimes the best-laid plot is overtaken by the raucous, the chaotic, the wild. Truth be told, I wouldn’t have it any other way.