Ode to a Pea Blossom

Part I: Legumes

 

The first pea blossoms appeared in the middle of May.

The pea vines were lush and green, both vigorous and delicate,

Trailing tendrils grasping with surprising tenacity at anything they touched,

Thick stalks snapping with deceptive ease under a careless hand.

I had labored over the plants since planting them in February,

Weeding them, watering them, fertilizing them,

Patrolling them nightly to intercept the voracious predators that threatened the young seedlings.

The flowers, when they finally appeared, were shockingly beautiful,

Graceful, clean-lined, white-and-purple pendants,

Which by their ethereal presence laughed a fairy’s laugh at the idea

That they had anything whatsoever to do with something so pedestrian as food.

Yet it was not long before the earliest blooms began to wilt quietly away,

Tiny pods appearing in their places.

 

The favas took both more and less of me.

They had grown through the late fall and all of the winter and spring

Before the first pods were finally ready to harvest,

Yet the winter rains kept them satisfied and I hardly raised a finger.

When I finally began picking them, though, then they made me work—

Great basketfuls of pods shucked down to modest piles of lima-like beans,

Boiled and further reduced to mere handfuls of the smooth, intimate inner hearts

(After laborious removal of the hulls, bean by bean)—

Is this what it’s all for?—

Which sat looking sad on the plate and melted like butter under my tongue.

 

Part II: Ruminations

 

The grocery store makes my garden seem folly,

Like building my own washing machine from junkyard parts,

A tinkerer’s pastime, a hobby, an acme of inefficiency.

And if the supermarket’s illusion of plenty collapses under the close scrutiny

Of even a half-baked amateur food-and-agriculture pundit,

Well, the pastoral dream of the garden collapses too,

Under the weight of a season of weather and hard work.

My garden is piles of weedy horse manure,

And killing slugs with garden shears late at night,

And tedious hours of delicate fingertip thinning of tiny carrots,

And yellowed, wrinkled stubs of leaves protruding from the soil where a vegetable should be.

And it’s the lightness of heart of a pea blossom on a gray morning under heavy clouds,

And the momentary hedonic, eyes-closed surrender to a mouthful of buttery fava beans.

Is this what it needs to be?  Is it enough?

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Carey on May 30, 2013 at 6:42 am

    Beautiful imagery.

    Reply

  2. Posted by James Earl Jones on May 30, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Beautiful, and inspiring and crushing :) I can absolutely feel it.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Kathy on May 30, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    beautiful

    Reply

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