“There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance; pray, love, remember” – William Shakespeare

I love cooking with my own herbs, and thankfully, no matter where I’ve ever been, I’ve always managed to have a thriving summer herb garden.  Despite my sense of necessary order in other aspects of my life, I tend to plant  “free-range” herb gardens.  Without keeping anything strictly in rows or sections, I let verbena grow wild, up and over lavender and serrano.  I allow spearmint to crawl edge to edge, weaving in and out of basil and thyme. Aloe Vera reaches out, her prickly arms outstretched – declaring her personal space amidst a tangle of oregano.

Mild winters helps the herbs take root and last for several seasons.  Harsh freezes turn my garden into a clean slate, making space for new growth and spring cleaning.

There’s something so fulfilling and rewarding about helping something grow. The ever-tending is calming. The ritual of aerating, weeding, shaping, trimming, and – after much anticipation – HARVESTING – is something that awakens a deep sense of ancestral nostalgia in me….an older time fading in….my fat-of-the-land heritage shining through.

For some reason, I’ve always had trouble with tomatoes.  I’m not sure why.  It may be because I smother them.  Or maybe it’s because I neglect them.  Maybe they get too much sun.  Or not enough.  But that doesn’t stop me.  Each year, I try again.  I plant and replant and fuss over beefhouse, and roma. I research tricks and trends.  Sometimes I even manage to coax a plant to flower.  Once or twice, I even got a tomato or two.  But, for the most part, the tomato plants in my garden remain stubborn and unrelenting.  It could be that tomatoes yearn for a more disciplined garden that I’ve ever managed to keep.  Or maybe, my tomato plants simply have no interest in having children.  They are happy and content in their garden lives and have no desire to reproduce.

Then again, perhaps this is yet another reminder that gardens shouldn’t always be so easy.  And tomato success is something I can still strive for.

For the most part, I stick with my herbs.  Throughout my life, I’ve left a legacy of herbs in back corners and by garden gates of apartment complexes, duplexes and rent houses in my trail.  At the end of everything, maybe that’s what will remain.  A little reminder of who came before.  A little reminder of where I’ve been…and who I come from.

All in all,  whenever I feel overwhelmed about the world around me, I find comfort in digging my hands into the dirt and getting back to my roots.

Some give you art…music….poetry.

I give you rosemary.