Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Thunderstorms within your purity

Arugula, lettuce, radishes, and radish greens

Dinner tonight is more or less the garden's first harvest. Arugula, lettuce, and radish piled high on a bed of grocer chicken and tortilla. Someday it'll be my chicken, my wheat (unless the catamaran gets to me first). The first week I was here, the vast quantity of what remained to be done immobilized me, but this week I've been attacking the wild in manageable chunks.

Every single day past the equinox always feels too late, even February when I could be starting beet seedlings, and in fact it's never too late. I still have all of July to plant late crops, and every day I can hack away at another corner, and harvest enough to eat. In December I can harvest jerusalem artichoke and kale (unless the catamarans get me). So for the last three days in a row I've had dirt under my nails and deer flies biting my ears.

I can't explain how happy it makes me to have brand new plants in my body for dinner. As always I'm also towing around a trail of guilt, as for anything good I accomplish I experience simultaneous pride for my accomplishment and guilt for my pride, but then if I abandon my farm to weeds I feel guilty about that, too. The psychologists of joy attest that gratitude is linked to joy—but I feel guilt rather than gratitude: guilt for what's good, for showing off, or being cheesy, or bragging.

Well: arugula vitamins banish guilt with their peppery verve.

I think sometimes about how we old sailors have managed to swallow the anchor so thoroughly, the old adage about sailors who leave the sea. They swallow the hook, and we've beaten ours into a plough-share. It's the same kind of nesting, the digging of the hoe into the dirt, the way an anchor buries itself in sand—but there's a feeling that the earth is swallowing us too, as we dig our roots into it, or struggle to get away. The dark ground is a blank slate on which I paint with tools, nesting seedlings and making rows, and the future is, too—blank, unknowable, and potentially delicious.

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