Thursday, February 10, 2011
“You appear to have yielded a crop of green umbrellas”, teases my husband on the way to watering his prized roses. “At least vegetables are useful”, I scoff after him, rolling my eyes. This is my patch. Travis, being the experienced gardener in the family, reluctantly surrendered the daggy part of the garden for my project.
I gaze at the apparent “umbrellas”. Their edges ruffle in the light breeze, like elephant ears mindlessly swatting flies. Many leaves have flopped, exhausted from heat; remaining upright only with assistance from tubular stems; the leaves, hanging over them like a sleeping toddler draped over the shoulder of a loving parent.
An organic aroma hangs in the air; earthy and pungent. It smells of comforting things; blue skies, flitting white cabbage moths and crumbly soil.
A phallic-shaped object peeks out from a jungle of leaves. With great anticipation, I wrap a quivering hand around its firm shaft and give a gentle twist. I am quite unsure of what I am doing – virgin gardener that I am.
My arm grazes a plant stem. Fine prickles irritate my skin like an old man’s beard during an obligatory greeting kiss. The discomfort forces me to acknowledge the mother plant, while my hands wrangle among her leafy petticoats.
The fruit comes away in my hand with a satisfying snap, leaving a warm green object to lie across my palm. Moist, white flesh lays exposed and glistening from whence it had been torn from its parent.
Delighted, I go in search of others, and find six more playing hide and seek in the thicket. Possibilities for tonight’s dinner file through my mind; saucy and sweet.
With my haul clutched greedily in hand, my plants suddenly appear even more despondent. Guiltily, I utter some token words of gratitude, though my guilt is fleeting. Ratatouille and zucchini cakes simply do not make themselves.