Dig Deeper

After about a year of living in our new home, after waiting for our neighbors to finish their driveway (life lesson: don’t expect gratitude from strangers), after our wholehearted horticulturist recovered from an acute illness, and after thaw had set in in the southwestern part of Germany, the circumstances finally were ideal for the ground work on our garden to begin.

My humble role in it: digging a whole between the sidewalk and our front door for the bushes. Not necessarily those typically German bushes that grow into a beautiful, thick hedge, but still large enough to keep the kids from running into the street or to (hopefully) impress a few Swabian SUV drivers to not use the sidewalk for a little sidestep. The latter won’t happen, I know. It’s just to keep us motivated.

So I dug a pit. About 50 centimeters deep. Beautiful. Impressive, even, to the amateur craftsman. But then, the crucial question: is it deep enough? Didn’t our horticulturist say that about 50–70 centimeters should be enough? But it’s a narrow pit, so… On the other hand, our (friendly) neighbors tell me that their whole in the ground wasn’t much deeper. And look at their tree back there, it clearly has enough fertile soil to, one day, grow into a huge, magnificent… does it, though?

After pondering about it for a little while, I gave in and stopped digging. 50 centimeters should do it. Also, my back and my arms hurt. Time to call it a day. It’s Saturday and my football (⚽️) team won.

But during the evening and the whole Sunday, that nagging feeling remained. What if 50 centimeters… ah, come on, that’s plenty! I dug like a pro!


The horticulturist (what a lovely word) arrives.

“Oh, I see you were busy! That should do it. The bushes won’t grow very tall and you’ll probably need a bit more fertilizer, but it’s okay.”

“But what if we want beautiful, healthy plants?”

Dig deeper.”

So that’s what I did today. 20 more centimeters.

Sometimes, it’s better to trust that gut feeling that tells you that if you don’t want to half-ass it, you need to go a little further.

And sometimes, you just need someone who tells you to dig deeper.


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