Putting Down New Roots–in dirt and in life

By Amanda Cleary Eastep

Have you ever been transplanted? I was following my divorce in 2005.

I couldn’t help but see an analogy today as I was transplanting the delicate seedlings that more quickly than expected outgrew the mini-starter trays.

A few weeks ago I started seeds for kale, two varieties of tomatoes, hot peppers, and chamomile. The kale and Amish Paste and Riesentraube tomatoes are…as my husband said, “ready to take over the earth.”

Or at least butting their little heads against the plastic lid of the seed tray.


I gently loosened and scooped them out, transplanting them into larger containers (where I would have started them had I known how quickly they’d grow). The roots were already long, but it was the thready stems I had to be careful not to snap.


When people are transplanted, for whatever reason, we take root pretty quickly if the “soil” is good. But that doesn’t mean we’re standing on strong legs right away.

We need time. Fertile ground. Nurturing.

Thankfully–because of faith, family, and eventually my new husband–I have had all of these and have grown strong. As much as I’ve always loved to garden, since being transplanted (and since being a mother, too), I have a different appreciation of growing things.

I’ve never transplanted seedlings. And the work is tedious. It’s so much easier to buy some overgrown Beefsteak from Wal-mart. But nowhere near the satisfaction of planting a seed and ending up with an entire plant that feeds your family. (Hopefully.)

So, now they need time. Fertile ground. And nurturing.


Me and the seeds–transplanted.

Me and seeds


It FINALLY felt like spring today.

I asked my friend if it was weird for me to be excited about cleaning off the patio. Of course, not. I knew she would understand. It was a beautiful day in Chicago and in the Upper Peninsula, and despite challenges in both of our lives, we were feeling hopeful and grateful on this Good Friday. How can you not?

So I started sweeping. An activity I love.


Arranged the blooms from my first-year Limelight Hyacinth tree that I cut in the fall.


And chatted with my daughter who enjoyed a first-of-the-year breakfast on the patio.


Pic by Meg. She always has an interesting perspective.
Pic by Meg. She always has an interesting perspective.

4 thoughts on “Putting Down New Roots–in dirt and in life

  1. Yes – those times of transition are so hard – but, worth it in the end. I don’t like the restless, shifty, uneasy feeling of change. But, I also love the results… Beautiful essay. I’m also SO anxious for spring this year. I haven’t cleaned my own patio yet, but it does always make me feel like warmer days have arrived!!!


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