What is it about a plant that determines whether it will live or die? Is it the quality of the seed? Is it the way the roots freely find their way through the soil to take hold? Is it the mix of nutrients that nourish and sustain it with energy? Is it exposure to the elements? Is it the loving care or neglect it receives? Is it all of these things? Is it a combination of things or no reason in particular? Or is nature totally random?
Why do some plants take root and flourish while others simply wither and die? In the plant world, everything competes for light and energy. But what if those are in abundance yet the plant still fails to thrive?
Gardening is one of the most therapeutic things I’ve ever done for myself. I’ve always enjoyed it, but I immersed myself into it two years ago when our angel boy died. Along with writing, I think it saved me. It got me outside breathing fresh air. It got my hands dirty. It was grounding. It gave me something productive to do, something (living) to nurture, something to look forward to.
Since our last failed cycle, I’ve been spending a lot of time outside. I’ve been admiring the new growth of spring — the beauty of plentiful wildflowers such as purple lupines and orange poppies sprouting up everywhere. Reminding me of the simple beautiful things in life to behold. Reminding me that life goes on, with or without a child. Inhaling the intoxicating scent of wisteria in full bloom reminds me to stop and experience wonder, to feed my spirit in whatever way I may find.
When I was preparing for my FET, I went digging outside trying to cultivate fertility. Since then, I’ve been planting a small bounty for summer in our tiny little patch out back — heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, tomatillos, strawberries, and plenty of herbs (mint, basil, oregano, rosemary). We don’t have much space and much is in containers, but they grow — most of the time anyway.
Every once in a while, though, a plant fails to thrive and dies. Sometimes I know exactly why — too much water, not enough, too much competition for space or sun, etc. But sometimes it’s a total mystery. Was it just a dud seed? Did it simply fail to take root? Was the soil not the right mix? The spread of disease? Why does a perfectly normal sprouting seed start suddenly cease to thrive?
You can see the parallels to embryology too, yes? A perfect looking embryo is deposited in hopefully fertile lining, and then you wait for it to take root, grow and thrive until it bursts with life. Sometimes it does, sometimes not. Sometimes you might need a little help, some “artificial” fertilizer (meds) or assisted technology to get there.
I’ve never had recurrent miscarriage — our seeds just never sprouted and thrived. My problem has mostly been conception and implantation due to a combination of issues. But the seemingly arbitrary distinctions between success and failure in nature makes me wonder about the random nature of infertility.
So some of my basil has already crashed and burned and I don’t know why. I can live with that. I can just plant some more, no problem. I only wish solving all of nature’s riddles were that simple.