post by Jennifer Carter
It’s funny Jenny S. mentioned my staring at peas, because not only have I been staring at peas lately, but also I’ve been spending a lot of time marveling at peanuts.
Our neighbor keeps a 50 lb bag of them in her yard, which keeps the squirrels in our yard very happy. They especially love it when I till up our garden beds every spring because it makes their treasure-burying so much easier. In fact, they’re so anxious to hide something in fresh dirt that they’ll sit on the fence and watch me while I turn over the soil, their little hands folded pensively at their chests, as if asking me to step inside so they can have a moment.
Our neighbor must have switched from roasted to raw peanuts, because this year when I was prepping the tomato beds, I pulled up what I thought was a weed, only to find it was growing out of a peanut shell. Like Jenny S., I have a profound respect for the potential a seed holds. And here was this peanut, growing perfectly well in my garden. I couldn’t bring myself to kill it. Besides, I have a theory that if I keep legumes growing around my tomatoes then I won’t have to fertilize.
The novelty of the peanut plant has worn off just a tad, as they’re now growing here and there in all of my garden beds, and even in my little half-barrel planters. I read up on them and supposedly they need six months of warm weather to produce more peanuts, so I let them grow knowing they most likely will not make it to a harvest.
I think that some of my writing ideas are like these little peanuts. Even when I let them germinate and sprout, take root and grow like they mean it—sometimes they just aren’t meant to make it to fruition. And that’s ok. Because those ideas that aren’t quite fully matured are like what farmers call green manure—plants grown just to be turned back into the soil as fertilizer for the next crop. It’s all practice, and it all counts. Just because it’s not published, and even if nobody else ever reads it, it’s not wasted. Its function is to make future writing healthier and richer.