There is a comforting persistence to a garden. It will grow, with or without you, given minimal conditions. If you step away for a few days, or even a week, it greets your return with a bounty that had simply been waiting for someone to harvest it.
The cherry tomato plants in my garden, despite being deprived of regular attention, are still proliferating. Today's harvest yielded at least a pint of perfect red globes. Hidden under the leaves of the squash plant were two small zucchini and two large ones, hefty and the length of my forearm. The basil plants, stretched toward the sun, had put out full, fragrant leaves and the beginnings of flower buds. Though the cilantro had gone to seed, I still harvested coriander for cooking and seeds for next year.
The magnanimous gifts of my garden, despite its neglect, were a balm for my heart. This month has been about restoration: getting enough sleep, doing things for myself, cleaning my kitchen, studying for my board exams--all these are a form of meditation, of returning to center. Like going home to find that your mother does, in fact, still love you (even when you forget to call), my garden was there for me even though I had not put enough into our relationship this summer. Selflessly, the garden forgave me my sins and neglect, and I find myself redeemed and starting on solid ground once again.