Some words are simply lovely to say. They’re silken things, rolling around your tongue, then sliding off on a mellifluous wave of sound, reaching for ears eager to hear. ‘Evolve’ is one of my favourites.
And then there is the meaning these words convey.
Evolve: early 17th century (in the general sense ‘make more complex, develop’): from Latinevolvere, from e- (variant of ex- ) ‘out of’ + volvere ‘to roll’.
I like to think of the changing face of my garden in these terms. It’s about developing and becoming more complex. As every gardener knows, gardens are never the same from one season to the next. There are many deciding factors. Weather and changing seasons are the ones that first spring to mind. But together with these are things like the gardeners’ changing whims and needs.
This past week I planted some Black Russian tomatoes, an heirloom variety I first tasted some years ago, and yes, they are nearly black! The flavour is incredible, like childhood memories playing across my taste buds. To the extent that space allows in my tiny courtyard, I try to grow what I can for my table, but it’s a fine balance between needs and wants. Sometimes an exotic ginger or a beautiful begonia might win the match and other times delicious produce prevails.
Do you remember when everyone seemed to grow their own fruit and vegetables in the backyard? We had ducks and chooks (hens) too, when I was a child, supplying our family with eggs, and they really were free range and organic! Our pantry was full of Fowlers Vacola preserving jars brimming with the previous season’s surplus which we’d feast our way through for the following year. But I digress.
These days, all manner of fruit and vegetables are available in the local supermarket year round, sure to be in season somewhere in the world. But the thing I notice is how little flavour much of this produce has. When I ask why, shelf life, appearance, growability have all been offered as justification. Could this be one of the reasons for the growing (pun unintended) popularity of farmers’ markets and the revival of the backyard vegetable garden?
With the benefit of a long life to reflect on, I can see that I’ve evolved too. Who can say if it’s always for the better, but there is a kind of unfolding, a development that has certainly resulted in a more complex expression of me.
Maybe I could even qualify as an ‘heirloom variety’?
I like the word ‘evolve’ because it’s not like the word ‘progress’ for example, which for me, demands a notion of always moving forward, achieving an improvement of sorts. That is, unless one speaks of a progressive decline, which many would say ageing is.
No, evolving for me, is moving through all the points of the development compass. Sort of like the meditation labyrinth where one walks first one way and then the other, always toward the centre, towards enlightenment. And then back again.
“Why is a caterpillar wrapped in silk while it changes into a butterfly? So the other caterpillars can’t hear the screams. Change hurts” ― Rory Miller This one is for you K.
Thanks to my Green-thumbed Buddy for the gorgeous heart stone image captured on her home beach early one morning.