Sunday, June 7, 2009
Romancing the garden
Last week we took a supper out to the garden for Joe, Becca, and their interns Sarah and Nathan. It was a beautiful day and they’d spent it on their knees transplanting lettuces peppers and fennel. Denis and I drove down a lane along side part of the garden, pulled a card table out of the trunk and set up for a simple meal - my hearty version of taco salad (made with their fresh greens and spinach) country French bread I picked up at a good bakery, butter sun tea and lemon bars. As we mixed the salad into a huge bowl, dumping the warm chile and beans from the Dutch oven, Joe came over a low rise saying he knew we had arrived because he could smell the food. Either he was really hungry, has a keen sense of smell, or the garlic and onions were extra powerful. Maybe all three. They had time for about a twenty minute break and then went back to working until dark.
Nathan and Sarah at the "table."
Denis and I wandered around the beds and through the greenhouses where all was quiet except for the swish of water through the hoses and the evening birdsongs. The sun was low but its light still filtered across benches of cucumber vines rising along strings and staked tomatoes setting small fruits - ripening evidence of weeks of work through the cold months of February, March and April.
Outside, small fields, bordered by fruit trees swathed in grasses, were already filled with curving, orderly rows of young green vegetables. Chard, spinach, peas, all the varieties of lettuce, radishes of many kinds, herbs, fennel. On and on they went, the fields rounding toward the fence where the lama stood on a little hillock staring us down amid chickens who scratched at his feet.
I know on this day only an idiot would miss the beauty and potential bounty of this garden. Even I captured a tiny bit with my camera. But knowing the people who work it, I also know the ache knees and suffering that is bound to our earthly existence. In so many ways, we long for the permanence of everything that is healthy and healing. Until then we weed scratch and water hoping in Christ who will one day restore life to what it was intended to be.