Waking up in a hot tropical climate is a rare occurrence for me now, but I miss one thing dearly: my 40-year-old avocado tree. My bedroom was beneath this majestic tree’s most beautiful and sturdy branches. Before rushing off to help my mother prepare breakfast, I would often climb the rooftop of my Hispanic-style home, using the branches as a fun and easy way to reach it.
The fruiting trees in my hometown were abundant and always nearby. While oranges were common for me, my husband grew up where they were extremely rare, and he once even got sick from eating too many. Bananas were my favorite fruit to snack on, but like my husband, I also got sick from eating too many.
Growing up in a small town entirely sustainable from locally-grown food was an incredible gift. The other day, as I passed the freshly-cut fruit section in a grocery store, the watermelon aroma immediately transported me back to my childhood. A few blocks from my home lived a family that only grew watermelons, and I often helped them harvest the smaller ones.
The fruit trees in my backyard included oranges, lemons, limes, bananas, and mangos. Mangos were so plentiful in my town that they were almost considered a weed, but my granny had a rare mango tree that she was proud of. My mother had many friends in our town, and one of them became a mother figure to me. She and her husband would make food that I would sell from door to door, and I attribute some of my selling skills to her. In addition, I remember the beautiful, unique, and delicious heirloom tomatoes they grew that I have never seen again.
My dad spent his days farming and growing food, and the cornfields were massive. I would often visit him there and bring him lunch, and we would enjoy crunchy, juicy, and tasty green beans. However, my favorite was always the freshness of the cucumbers. He grew everything we consumed and more.
I feel the presence of God in my garden every day. The sunlight illuminating my ranunculus, the gentle breeze making my grasses dance, and the soil beneath my feet remind me of the gifts God has bestowed upon my family and me. When my children plant seedlings or talk to the flowers, when my husband tends to his roses, and even when my dog tramples my flowers, I feel the presence of God.
Everything in my garden, from the unique blooms to the starry night and the moon that illuminates it, is a reminder of the love, hope, appreciation, and celebration it represents. Every tiny seed has so much potential inside its coding, and it’s hard not to love flowers when they are such a beautiful reminder of the presence and love gifted to us by the creator. So when you receive a fresh bouquet from my garden, I hope you feel loved, hopeful, and appreciated.