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A lesson in patience

Teaching her nephew to garden, Tara catches herself telling him to be patient... and realizes she could do well to take her own advice as she waits for a running injury to heal.

Seedlings growing in peat moss pots

Sprouts of bell peppers, cherry tomatoes, beets, cabbage and more are springing from tiny starter-garden beds in our living room. This is the work of my partner, Candace with some help from our four nephews. I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I sure do appreciate the arrival of fresh, accessible, tasty vegetables throughout the latter part of the summer and into the fall.

Whenever I look at these little plants darting upwards toward the light, I can’t help but think I’m on a similar journey. I’m five weeks into recovering from a stress reaction in my left foot, which means I’m still in baby-step mode. I find myself in a season of growth with an opportunity to plant my own seeds– my training foundation– in hopes of a bountiful harvest this summer.

Bit by bit, my these seeds of mine are growing as I take care of myself and pay attention to the details with stretching and rolling multiple times a day and remaining consistent with strength work and nutrition. Being able to bike at this point also means that I need to have the discipline and patience not to push too hard and set myself back. It can be difficult to find the balance of not overdoing it, while still doing enough. It’s always tempting to want to see the fruits of our labour sooner rather than later.

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I think of our five-year-old nephew, Ethan and how excited he was when he helped plant seeds at our place. It wasn’t more than two hours after the tiny tips of his fingers carefully poked even tinier seeds into the soil, when he asked if they were popping up through the dirt yet. I feel like that myself sometimes asking myself if it my foot is better yet. “No? Okay . . . how about now?” I often ask myself.

However, I’ve been through enough injuries at this point to know there’s no quick fix, just like there’s no quick way to make our seedlings grow into vegetables… even though our nephew would like there to be. Decades older than him, I’m able to draw on experience but even adults can have a tough time being patient sometimes.

When I think of what my partner, Candace, told young Ethan about the process the plants have to go through, I’m further reminded of my own process in healing and preparing for the summer. She explained to him that we have to take great care of the seeds by watering them just the right amount, giving them light, thinning them down and eventually, when they’re strong enough, moving them outside where they’ll continue to grow stronger until they become fresh, yummy vegetables.

It’s a lot for a little guy to understand but he’s starting to get it. Every time he’s over at our house, he wants to see how the vegetables are doing. Going through this process with our nephews and having these growing plants within sight on a daily basis is serving as a timely reminder to respect the process I’m currently in. It’s also a reminder that growth is happening. I’m healing and getting stronger and there will be plenty to harvest come summertime.