Friday, September 7, 2012

The Strawberry of Persistence

I like Strawberries. I like them sliced up on my breakfast cereal and on my occasional Saturday morning treat of pancakes.
When Pete caught the gardening bug last season he decided that he would grow some for me.

He bought some hanging baskets on EBay and filled them with a special blend of potting mix. He scoured the Nurseries for nice, healthy looking strawberry plants and lovingly bedded them into their new homes. He sprayed them regularly with naturally sourced pest repellent mixture – no nasty chemicals here. And he constructed a frame over which to drape netting to keep the birdies away.

Every day he watered them and we waited – and waited.

But the Strawberries never made an appearance.  We didn’t even see any flowers – we just watched the lovely green leaves slowly turn to brown.

It was so disappointing – but the Strawberries weren’t our only failure. Our back yard seems to have way more than its fair share plant-devouring insects and the soil seems to be a haven for all sorts of plant diseases. Despite his best efforts, there were many things that Pete just couldn’t seem to grow – and Strawberries seemed to be one of them.

However he was determined. I looked on in amazement as he continued to care for those dead-looking plants – and even went to buy new ones. I gave up asking why he even bothered and just left him to it.

Then, one day not too long ago, he came inside all excited. He said for me to
‘Come and have a look,’
And there, amidst the leaves was one substantially sized pale green Strawberry. There were signs of others as well – little flowers budding – even on the old bushes which had now turned back from dead brown to bright green.

Well the Strawberry is plump and red and almost ready for picking and eating now. Pete’s perseverance has paid off. I’m not sure how many Strawberries we will get from our bushes this season. But just knowing we CAN grow them is all the incentive we need to keep trying.

The last few years of our lives have been full of disappointments – things that just haven’t worked for us despite our best efforts. All we’ve got at the moment are the dried up remains of our big hopes – just like the dead-looking plants at the end of last season.
Growing Strawberries, well growing anything for that matter, requires persistence and determination. And so does life.

We’ve always made it through in the past. Something has always cropped up when we’ve least expected it. And just knowing this must be our incentive to keep on trying.

Who knows how close we might be to reaping the Strawberry of our persistence?

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