Planting garlic is a labor of hope for me. When I planted garlic for the first time last fall, 2020, I wanted enough to be able to give garlic braids as Christmas gifts for about 6 people this year. I had never grown or braided garlic, but I'm a sucker for new things. As I was planting this gift that would be a year away, after several months of global pandemic, I began to worry. What if the friends and family I was planting for weren't here next Christmas? Would I even be able to pull the garlic in the face of that kind of hurt? Several people I knew were facing loss, both related to Covid and not. I hesitated, but decided to plant it anyway. I spent the afternoon planting and praying over those family members and friends. Praying for their peace, comfort and strength. And for my peace, comfort, and strength regardless of what happened in the upcoming year. And then life went on. The only real difference is that I tried to be very mindful of the time I spend with people. And between the Johnson grass, having a baby in August, and rats in my drying room, I definitely didn't have any garlic braids to give away this Christmas. I had not planned to give my grandma garlic, but we did lose her in July. This Christmas I am missing her so much. She loved Christmas. So many of the ornaments on my tree are from her. I am missing wrapping up a present for her, and I am missing the hot chocolate mix, Chex mix, and flavored crackers she gave us as gifts. Today I planted garlic again for next year. (Yes, I should have planted it a month or two ago. It is what it is.) And I prayed again for myself and my friends and family as we come up on another year. And I hoped that everyone I planted garlic for might be here to celebrate with me next year. Now, if the garlic braids actually make it next year that will just be the cherry on top.
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