In the Graden
We finally made it to a friend’s to pick the last of the plums. She’d had her fill but didn’t want any to go to waste. We should have been a week earlier; the plums quite literally exploding with ripeness. We lost a few on the 10 minute drive home. The rest went immediately into the dehydrator. They are pure sweetness !
Earlier in the morning I had read this (from brainpickings):
I consider a tree.
I can look on it as a picture: stiff column in a shock of light, or splash of green shot with the delicate blue and silver of the background.
I can perceive it as movement: flowing veins on clinging, pressing pith, suck of the roots, breathing of the leaves, ceaseless commerce with earth and air—and the obscure growth itself.
I can classify it in a species and study it as a type in its structure and mode of life.
I can subdue its actual presence and form so sternly that I recognise it only as an expression of law — of the laws in accordance with which a constant opposition of forces is continually adjusted, or of those in accordance with which the component substances mingle and separate.
I can dissipate it and perpetuate it in number, in pure numerical relation.
In all this the tree remains my object, occupies space and time, and has its nature and constitution.
It can, however, also come about, if I have both will and grace, that in considering the tree I become bound up in relation to it. The tree is now no longer It. I have been seized by the power of exclusiveness.
To effect this it is not necessary for me to give up any of the ways in which I consider the tree. There is nothing from which I would have to turn my eyes away in order to see, and no knowledge that I would have to forget. Rather is everything, picture and movement, species and type, law and number, indivisibly united in this event.
Everything belonging to the tree is in this: its form and structure, its colours and chemical composition, its intercourse with the elements and with the stars, are all present in a single whole.
The tree is no impression, no play of my imagination, no value depending on my mood; but it is bodied over against me and has to do with me, as I with it — only in a different way.
Let no attempt be made to sap the strength from the meaning of the relation: relation is mutual.
– Martin Buber
Today I’m considering it again. My relation with the plums in my belly being quite clear.
The last day of the year 2017. After a week of rain the sun finally showed its face this morning; the birds running riot in the yard. In addition to the usual feeder visitors (chickadees, sparrows, finches, juncos), we had a flock of robins in search of the final cotoneaster berries. They pulled a few cedar waxwings along with them too. The more unusual sight was the small gang of Steller’s jays. Given their size, I find it comical how timid they are, like a bunch of nervous gunslingers. Gulls, cormorants and crows on the wing completed the picture. I’ll take them all as good omens !
The photographer has taken the camera and fled to the wilderness, so you have to imagine the scene. The garden is in all its fall glory, which is to say it is a mess of almost spent plants accompanied by an understory of weeds going to seed (but oh so beautiful). I could claim a case of tendinitis as a weed excuse, but truthfully past falls have been similar. A small flock of Chipping Sparrows came yesterday to glean those weed seeds. They seemed particularly fond of the crab grass. A few Goldfinches, dressed now in duller tones, kept lookout from drying spikes of wild Evening Primrose. I took their presence as a blessing on my wild gardening ways.
I read this line today:
I think I’ve managed that with our little piece of urban land. And now, each footfall will be a long good-bye. This coming summer we will be moving back to the west coast and the place that has always felt like home. We’re excited, and sad, and hopeful. We’ll walk paths long remembered but transformed in our absence. Hopefully, both old and new will be muses for my feet to love.
It’s still hot – and DRY ! I feel like I’ve spent all Summer watering the garden. It will be cold soon enough though, and we’ll be glad of the “stored heat” in all the things gathered and squirrelled away. I dug horseradish root on the weekend and added that to the already harvested cayenne, garlic and onions as a base for fire cider. Fresh ginger and turmeric made it in too, along with a few herbs that called out to me: rosemary, wild bergamot, calendula and echinacea. Heat to melt Winter’s cold !
Lamb’s Quarters (chenopodium album) is considered an edible weed. But go ahead and grow it on purpose. Put it with the kale and the lettuce; civilized like. Pampered, it’s much more tender, and cooked it is much tastier than spinach. Throw some radish greens into the mix. They’re prickly, but cooking sees to that. Oh, and add turnip tops; the bottoms do better in the fall anyway.