Gardening, Time & Memory

W hen I started eating home-grown vegetables (I’ve been doing it for about five years) I learned that the local supermarket was not really selling vegetables. Those objects sold in the produce section looked and felt like vegetables but they didn’t taste like vegetables, at least when compared to my home-grown ones. I also learned that home-grown vegetables have a long “refrigerated” shelf life. Home-grown lettuce can last for at least two weeks without going bad and cucumbers do not turn mushy within days. I’ve also learned…

  • I like tomatoes. The doppelganger tomatoes sold in the supermarket are usually mushy inside and the taste is too strong. Homegrown tomatoes, by contrast, have a nice firm pulp, a delicate flavor and a paper-thin skin.
  • A cucumber is full of moisture and smells wonderful. I learned this when I peeled my first home-grown cucumber. Though it was two feet away from my nose, it had a wonderful aroma. It was firm, moist and was delicious enough to be eaten raw. Speaking of moist, when I first grew Bok Choy I would break off a stalk and the water would LITERALLY be dripping out!
  • Unlike my damned lawn which turns brown if you forget to water it for a week or two, the vegetables will come back to life even if they have been neglected. Of course, you can’t go too long without watering them but vegetables will, at least, perk up again after some time. A lawn, on the other hand, requires more care and maintenance than an infant in diapers. I HATE LAWNS!
  • The little kid in me is amazed by the whole growing process. I start with a tiny little seed that turns into a puny little plant which turns into a large plant that I eventually turn into a meal. Absolutely amazing that it really works! [note 

    Seedlings – Red Sail Lettuce

Planted on May 5, 2010

Cucumbers planted on May 5, 2010

Tomatoes and Lettuce on June 15, 2010. (Tomatoes on left; Red Sail lettuce on the right.)

Cucumbers climbing and climbing – June 15, 2010

Plum Tomatoes on June 15, 2010…just a few short weeks away from harvest time.


for about five years: After rereading this post for the 10th time (I read them again and again, making minor editing “tweaks” before making them live), I realized that I use the phrase “for about five years” as a sort of literary shorthand, analogous to the biblical “for forty days and forty nights,” which is not meant literally but is simply meant to indicate that a long time has passed. I use this phrase when I tell people that I stopped smoking. I can’t really tell you how many years ago I stopped but I believe it is about five years. That seems to be the edge of my ADHD time-memory horizon.  Ask me what happened ten years ago and, well, I have a hazy recollection and there are many days, months and years that are simply blank. There is something very haunting about this especially when I look at old pictures of myself and I cannot mentally draw a connection between the person captured in that photo and the person who is now staring at that photo and writing this post. It is  not simply that there are gaps in the memory but that there is no memory of it all. Intellectually I know that it is me in the photo. Intellectually I know that some event was captured by the photo. But I do not feel connected to “that” person. It is, to a degree, somewhat like having a leg that does not belong to you. This was described by Oliver Sacks in his book The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat. He describes a patient who wakes up in the morning, sees a leg in the bed and, believing that the leg is not his but belongs to someone else, throws it out of the bed. Of course, the rest of his body follows with it which astounds him when it happens. I know that that person in the photo is me and I look at it with some recognition of that fact yet, it does not feel like it is me.

the little kid in me: I don’t know if this is truly an ADHD trait though I suspect it is. Adult ADHDers (I’m really referring to those who were diagnosed late in life) often view the world of Adult non-ADHDers with a certain level of amazement. They are amazed that these “others” are able to accomplish so much in life, from paying bills on time to amassing a sizable savings account, and they (ADHDers) wonder, how the heck do they do that? In a number of respects, this how do they do that intellectual stance carries over into many things, such as, how the heck do the little seeds become big plants? or how does action at a distance REALLY work? [note 2] Currently my how the heck do they do that curiosity is focused on the problem of consciousness, namely, how does it (how CAN it!) work?

  1. Some of you may think that something this amazing must be the result of Intelligent Design. If there really is an Intelligent Designer, then how come we have Republicans? However, it is possible, as Borges once surmised, that everything we see is really the creation of an infant deity who, having realized what a mistake he made, had decided to abandon the whole project. [Note to the reader: While searching for the source of this "infant deity" concept (I knew that I had encountered it while reading Borges), I discovered that Borges was actually quoting David Hume. "it may be far more reasonable to conclude that the world is 'the first rude essay of some infant deity, who afterwards abandoned it, ashamed of his lame performance' " See: Does God Exist: David Hume's Answer To An Unanswerable Question See also: The Analytical Language of John Wilkins by Borges. It is in this essay that Borges quotes Hume and, in addition, it is where we find the definition of "animals" which was found in the (fictitious) Chinese encyclopedia 'The Celestial Emporium of Benevolent Knowledge. Foucault's The Order of Things was inspired by this "definition" of animals. I used this definition as a model for my own definition of ADHD in this post. See, specifically, the three "definitions" of ADHD.  ]
  2. Action at a distance is, of course, gravity.
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