This weekend it’s time to plant garlic. I thumb each clove into the dirt, cover the bed with straw, and that’s it. Nothing apparent happens for a very long time. It’s not until next July that we’ll see any harvest.

The garden is the one place where I am forced to practice foresight and patience. The plants won’t have it any other way. Everywhere else I have a choice.

I so enjoy spontaneity. “Let’s go do this” does way more for me than, “how about the second Tuesday of next month?” I have never understood couples who schedule their sex lives. What if you’re horny on a Wednesday, but you’re not booked in til Sunday?

There was that study done with kids and marshmallows. Each child was given one, and told if they wait until the teacher comes back before they eat it they can have a second. They visited the folks who were in the program years later and discovered those that deferred were actually more successful. Yah, but I bet they were boring.

All that said, I am the ancestor of my future happiness, as David Whyte suggests. I’ll have no garlic next summer, if I don’t plant now. There are consequences to not thinking ahead.

But how certain is the future? All I really know is what’s here now. But still I sow seeds, plant trees, and make compost. It can’t, and doesn’t, all happen right now. Time is itself an ingredient in the gratification, the anticipation, the expectation.

Whether it’s garlic, marshmallows, or sex, maybe there is something to be said for waiting.