Coming from Miami, Florida I am one that is pretty accustomed to stormy weather. As a youth I remember storms that would blow through town, knock out the power, and leave trees upturned. Many of these storms weren’t even hurricane strength. They were just storms that packed a lot of punch.
I have now been in Japan for more than a decade. I have seen typhoons come and go. I have yet to see one hit Tokyo with as much force as some hardcore Miami thunderstorms. This is not to say that the Japanese typhoons are weak, they surely aren’t. I wouldn’t be writing this if I lived in Okinawa, or more southern Japan, where the majority of the gale force storms come ashore.
In some ways I usually look foreword to the storms. The howling winds and the gushing rains bring me back to those humid day of my youth in Miami. I keep an eye out for the bustling winds. I peek out my window to see how the storm is progressing. This storm I learned some lessons the hard way.
My wife and I decided to start a patio garden this spring. It had been something that we had talked about but never had put it into action until this year. We have always had plants, but they were mainly large potted fruit trees that have been on our patio for many years. Actually, they really aren’t that large. The are more like giant bonsai, because of being restricted to growing within the boundaries of their white pots. This garden was different. We were trying to supplement what we eat with fresh herbs and vegetables from our own garden. We put many hours in to the garden. My wife in fact had become a bit obsessed with gardening and I could often find her out on our veranda tending to our plants. We had to fight back infestations of bugs with soap and oil. Cut off leaves that seemed to catch some mysterious ailment. We had planted baby carrots, potatoes, eggplants, peppers, tomatoes, watermelon, all sorts of leafy veggies that made our way into our dinner table. We even had a little bit of excess that we started to pickle from scratch.
This all changed this typhoon. Our garden was decimated by the strong winds. Stems snapped, green tomatoes were thrown about the patio. The eggplant leaves were so battered that they look as if they had been nibbled on right on down to the spines. The meter high corn stalks were all laying flat out on the container next to them. I was a bit upset and at the same time I knew that there was really nothing we could do. There was no way we could have brought the plants inside. I had to have faith that they would survive at least some of them would.
On my way in to work the morning after the storm I got to think about most of the world that are subsistence gardeners. They grow food so that they have something to eat. I was came to a realization that our garden only supplements our diet and I should be thankful that no one in my family was injured by the storm. If this had happened in a land of farmers who very live depends on what they are able to reap from the earth they would be facing hunger after this storm.
I am sure that our plants will rebound. Nature has a way of fighting back against itself. Already my mint plant has started to sprout some new leaves out of the blackened sufferers. The rain also brought out a field of mushrooms at field on my way to work. The spores had managed to spring up inspire of the torrential rains and forceful winds.
Somethings have to wither so that others can grow. I am thankful that I have access to food and I can spend time gardening as a hobby. My heart goes out to the farmers in Japan that lost crops because of the typhoon. My heart aches for those that would have gone hungry if a powerful storm had hit their farms.