Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Seen people blessed

I found this blog this week, another Maine farming family, but one that doesn't seem to share the angst and anxiety, the sturm and drang, I thwart myself with all summer.  I said to two separate friends last week that gardening/farming is an act of wrestling with constant failure, and so easily I forget about all the anxiety from last year, all the failures--the cucumber beetles and hail and blight--and now when I look back on photographs, they seem to be taken from a lush tropical rainforest that magically produced vegetables.

Nevertheless, I made my first salad all from garden vegetables this week, and it feels like a huge accomplishment.  Arugula, red and green oak leaf lettuces, snap peas, green onions.  Tomatoes from the store, a fresh radish pickle as garnish.  It was possibly the most delicious greenery I've ever eaten.

I'm not going to lie about the effort it required--sometimes the harvesting feels like the most difficult part.  Getting out of the house with a pair of scissors and a bowl when I'm hungry and just want a snack, and trimming around the base of the lettuce plants and dumping the slug-infested leaves into the compost and finding good ones and filling the bowl up.  Cleaning dirt from the onions, worm-eaten spots from the radishes.  Convincing myself to put it all together into something delicious.

I, too, have things coming up from the ground that came from last year's plantings, most notably echinacea (cornflower) and Jerusalem artichoke, which has hit the big time as "sunchoke," so called by Gordon Ramsey.  And four or five volunteer tomatoes, all sprung up at the end of a row of leeks.  It's all very exciting, these little gifts that the universe bestows.  But the garden I have is never the garden of my dreams, or even the lush paradise I remember from the past.

Tonight I caught another PBS documentary--why are they all so good?--about harlequin romance novels.  It filmed various women, one in Japan, another in India, all hooked on the genre, juxtaposed with a male model who poses for covers and a British romance novelist.  The surprising thing, the beautiful thing, was watching these people, all so different, all searching for love in their own way.  And those who, after spending all their time longing for the romance they read about in books, realize that the love they're looking for has been there all along.  In their own home, with their own husbands or lovers.  That love, too, can only be found in the moment.

I'm trying to realize that this summer.  Failing most of the time, just as with the garden, but trying anyway.
Send us now into the world in peace, and grant us strength and courage, to love you, and serve you, with gladness and singleness of heart.
That's what I pray in the liturgy.  That's the reminder.  If only I can remember to grow my vegetables with gladness, and singleness of heart.


Snacks from the cruise buffet said...

"singleness of heart"...a good reminder.

Melissa said...

Although easier said than done.