via #daily post
When packing for our departure from the Promised Land, I found some seeds I had been collecting to plant in our garden. Some of them were more than fifteen years old and probably not viable anymore. To be honest, there never was a garden. I made a few attempts to plant flowers and vegetables in various locations around the property, but eventually gave up the battle against the hostile soil and persistent weeds. There was no predicting what might sprout. Cilantro overtook everything one year. Pumpkins we never planted sprang up under the porch, and another time, it was volunteer tomatoes in the same spot. Deer-proof tulip bulbs never blossomed, but daffodils turned up in the strangest places. One sunny spot next to the house welcomed tomatoes, roses, and blueberries, but it took a constant battle against trumpet vines to keep the space open. Poison ivy was lush and abundant, while wild blackberries and persimmons had good seasons and unpredictable bad ones. Mail-order Leland cypress and forsythia grew quickly and seemed to flourish for years, then suddenly succumbed to local disease.
Looking at those packets and plastic bags of seeds, I saw all of our dreams for that rural Virginia acreage and the many attempts we had made to promote the arts in the community. Those unplanted seeds seemed to symbolize discouragement in the face of unrelenting resistance. Yet the successes were all around me, a once-empty field now holding two houses and a beautiful landscape. The forest had come back to shade us, roses sprawled against the buildings, and crepe myrtle lined the driveway. I walked out to the back deck and, looking toward the woods, I poured the seeds into my hands and threw them out into the field for the birds.
Virginia’s Northern Neck region is often called the “Promised Land.” Residents say jokingly that this is because workers always promise to show up at a certain time but arrive late or not at all.