This week, I should have been enjoying my first real strawberry harvest.
This year, one of my gardening goals was to take better care of my plants, making sure they had plenty of space and healthy dirt and fertilizer. Taking a more proactive approach to gardening, as it were, rather than always playing defense against my garden foes. For instance, aphids often infest my strawberry plants, but if the plants are healthy they can still produce decent fruit.
They loved the attention. My strawberries were healthier and happier and thrived.
And then the storms and rain hit last week. Tuesday night, the hail drummed our house for 45 minutes. The storm Tuesday night resulted in local waterways flooding, and Catoctin Creek literally washed away parts of the road I live on. (Luckily, we live further uphill so weren’t impacted by the flooding.) The streets of downtown Frederick, MD gushed with water.
My strawberry crop is, in a word, ruined.
In a brief break in the rain yesterday, I cleaned out as much of the damaged, diseased, and rotting fruit as I could. Removed leaves clinging to broken stems. Even plucked off unripe fruit that was already showing water spots. (PSA: half rotten mushy strawberries may be the grossest things to touch. Ever.)
I shouldn’t complain, right? My livelihood doesn’t depend on these berries; my family won’t starve as a result of a lost crop. And many people suffered much worse as a result of the weather.
But it’s still a humbling reminder that whatever humans might think we control in the world, we are still entirely at the mercy of – and ultimately dependent on – the good will of Mother Nature.