The operator of the Dibbler is the Supreme Being of the farm. Each and every plant owes its life or death to the accuracy of the Dibbler’s holes – if a seedling is too far from its intended place in the bed, a cultivator will soon come along and end its happy little green life. A plant’s chance for success is decided by someone else at almost every stage of its life. Was it transplanted at the right depth, at the right time, in the right place? Did it get a row cover to protect from bugs and birds or was it left to the mercy of early frosts and geese? Has the field been irrigated or is it relying on the clouds to provide? Obviously, there is not much a plant can do to affect its circumstances so these external forces are really the only chances it gets.
For a person, there can be many of the same kind of seemingly final life events; born into poverty or wealth, availability of education and healthcare, the love and attention of a family or caregiver. Nature vs nurture is a hotly debated topic and is something I am nervous to even dance around. I have been incredibly lucky with regards to almost every one of these circumstance – I love and am loved by my family, I live somewhere that a good education was readily available, I have been encouraged and supported by my loved ones to pursue my own interests and I am, on a day to day basis, strong and (as I am hearing more and more often) otherwise healthy. Because of this, I feel like I have to do everything I can to make the most of what I have been given and do something worthwhile with my life, like I owe it to whoever was operating the Dibbler and transplanted me in a straight line. I’ll not only grow beautiful leaves but I’ll produce the best damn tomatoes you’ve ever tasted (in this metaphor I am a tomato plant). There are also constant reminders in my life of how important it is to take advantage of what I have while I have it and not take anything for granted.
I’ve been diabetic for almost 10 years and it has been a struggle to come to terms with how this is a factor that is completely out of my control and that I have to learn how to work with it instead of rail against it. Increasingly over the past two years I have been unable to digest proteins – first meat, then dairy, and now soy. Like the diabetes, my doctors and I believe these intolerances are the result of an autoimmune disease. Since I was 14, my body has been hell bent on destroying itself without even knowing it. We are still doing tests to figure out what this mystery disease is, and because I am still on my parent’s insurance, it is something I can afford to do and will probably be able to afford to treat. It is definitely something that I avoid thinking about for the most part – my most used pep-talk for awhile has been ‘Being upset doesn’t help, doing something helps’. Since there is nothing I can do to get my body to stop being an idiot, I do everything to make sure to not forget that I am still alive and living and not dead yet and until I am physically incapable of it, I will be out making the most of my life.