I stood up from the row of peppers I just transplanted and saw a squiggle in place of a straight line.
It was my first solo assignment, a week into my first job on a diversified vegetable and livestock farm. While the peppers did get planted into the hoop house, and while I did keep efficiency in mind as I tucked each root ball into the soil and immediately moved on to the next, the job looked like one of an amateur.
Which it was.
Yes, my parents kept a small garden when I was young. Yes, I’d weeded plenty for my mom. But no, I’d never planted a pepper, or anything for that matter, into a bed longer than 5 ft. And how long ago was that? I couldn’t remember.
I found Laura, one of my bosses and co-owner of the farm, and she said, “Oh don’t worry about it. Done is perfect. It’ll look more like a straight line when the plants fill in.”
And it did.
We moved on to the next item on the endless list of farm tasks. When pepper harvest came around, the foliage leafed out, blooms turned to fruit, and the row looked reasonably straight. The plants didn’t mind the slight meander, they gave fruit just the same.
Eight years later, as we prepare for another season at Good Heart, I keep this in mind.
Sometimes done is perfect. You do all you can, you get the roots into the soil, and you keep going.
Yes, it’s worth doing your best, but it’s also worth remembering that our lives are more like the squiggle than the straight line, too. When we veer off our path, the key is to keep walking (because we have legs, and unlike the pepper plant, we can change directions).
Because done is perfect. Because the pepper doesn’t say, “this fruit isn’t good enough.” It just puts out more blooms. It reaches its roots further for water and food. In its own way, it keeps moving.
And so do we.