Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Garden

The soft grass clippings warm under my bare feet were in sharp contrast to the underlying hard packed dirt path.  The summer sun beat down, warming the parts of my head covered by hair but heating up the strip of part exposed on the top of my head. Half an hour in the sun and my fair skin would start to almost sizzle if I did not seek out the cool comfort of shadows or the dark protection of the house. The scent of earth and green growing vegetables were sharp but subtle to my nose. Closing my eyes, I took a deep slow breath, breathing in the sweet smell of vegetables heavy on vines and branches.

Looking around the garden and yard, the sun made objects almost too bright. In the yard the daylilies so brilliant and fresh with the morning dew clinging to their newly opened petals, were slowly fading with the passing day. When the cool breeze of evening chased away the lingering sun, blooms that had just woken this morning would be closed and decaying, making space on the stalk for new flowers to emerge with the dawn. Bumble bees danced from flower to flower, filling garden beds with a steady drone. Silent tissue paper butterflies fluttered from garden to garden, dancing across bushes heavy with brightly colored clusters.

Separated from the lawn is a rectangular patch of dirt surrounded by posts strung with fishing line and surveyors tape to keep out deer. Along the bottom of the fence stretches chicken wire mesh to keep out the woodchucks. Overgrowing the bare dirt which is in such sharp contrast to the green yard are tangles of vines – tomatoes, peas, beans, squash, and melons. Their vines entwine and reach out for space. Small squash and melons hide beneath large scratchy green leaves. The red globes of tomatoes glow from between green branches. Tucked into the corners, making every space within the small patch of earth count, are garlic scapes and gladiola fronds. Potato plants play king of the mountain upon their hills – the potatoes silently growing in the cool earth below.

I carefully walk down the short paths, watching for sharp twigs and stones hidden in the dull olive grass clipping that mark the paths. The scent of the freshly cut grass has faded as the sharp green has faded. As I reach the rows of peas, I gently move the soft pale green leaves aside to find the pea pods dangling from the vines. Curls of vines cling to the wire support specifically placed to allow the vines to climb toward the blue sky and create a short curtain. Pea pods tangle from the vines, feeling firm beneath my fingers. Careful to not damage curls clinging to the wire, I pull off a pod and hold it in my hand.

Within the crescent shaped pod I can feel the pearls of peas. Chlorophyll stains my fingernails as I snap off one end and peel the pod open, releasing a moist green scent. The peas are smooth and pop out of the pod with a gentle prod. One by one, I place them in my mouth and run them around with my tongue. The peas are almost tasteless, resistant to my saliva and acting like little round pebbles. Catching one between my teeth, I bite down, the outer flesh popping beneath the pressure.  The taste is sweet and moist although the taste will not be fully developed until I crush the inner halves of the pea and the green flavor slides down my throat. 

The Red Dress Club: This week, we'd like for you to write about your favorite fresh fruit or vegetable.


Anonymous said...

This was great - I wanted the eating part to be longer!


Anonymous said...

This was a lovely piece of writing. I thought you did a wonderful job of creating the scene and describing the garden, both flower and vegetable, without overusing a single descriptive word. The piece reads like a still life, as if I could read it over and over again and discover new lovely phrases I hadn't seen before.

Pamela Gold said...

Peas direct from the plant. Have mercy, it's so sweet and delicious and pops with the creamy center. Delicious!

Karen Peterson said...

I love the "green scent." So descriptive. I know just what you're talking about.

From Tracie said...

mmmmm Great job!

I'm actually wanting peas after reading this (and veggies are not usually my thing!) because you make them sound so yummy!

Galit Breen said...

I, too, love pea pods. Everything about them is delicious and fun. And really? A food that's also an activity: I'm so in!

I loved the phrase: The pearls of peas; lovely!

Anonymous said...

LOVE peas fresh from the garden.

Can't stand them any other way.

Great post! I really enjoyed the walk through the garden.

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