It’s that time of year… …Harvest that is. And it’s Wednesday…which means it’s my day to go in search of the ripest, most mature items on the farm. Lately that’s looked like cucumbers and zucchini…low to the ground, mostly hidden in their yellow and green camouflage Scratchy. Delicate. Admittedly not my favorite to harvest. But today was different. Today purple beans and cherry tomatoes changed everything.
A new burst of succulent color transformed my day into an exciting game of hide and go seek, a slow revealing of those tiny treasures most ready to release themselves from the plants that nourished them. A game whose rewards extended far beyond the satisfaction of completing the search and into the understanding that these plants would in turn nourish me and an entire community
As I gently pushed my way into the center of the bean trellis I realized I’d entered a different world I hadn’t fully visited since my youth. The dappled light bounced playfully off the leaves and my sun-tanned skin and made my blonde arm hairs sparkle and glisten. I rustled around awkwardly for a moment, trying to get my bearings and find a comfortable squatting position that would allow for maximum visibility of the colorful beans that I knew surrounded me but were hidden from view. When I finally settled I looked up to the epicenter of the trellised poles that held the structure and paused to appreciate the familiar comfort of my temporary shelter. And then I got to it. The more beans I plucked from their vines the more revealed themselves until my bucket was nearly full.
I carefully crawled my way out, wondering how long I could hide inside before someone would notice. I had, without knowing, dressed in the same colors as the plant…green top with eggplant colored pants, and I felt ridiculously and slightly embarrassingly in sync in there. So of course I had to take a selfie...ha!
Then I headed for the tomatoes, not expecting to find much as they are just beginning to turn. Of course the first one I picked needed to tasted for quality assurance, and though it didn’t immediately succumb to my gentle tug, it was as sweet and juicy as I could have hoped for. As I spotted the bright orange color and reached awkwardly for the next, nestled deeply inside the wire cage that supported the plant, and it was almost as if it anticipated my pull and had been yearning for it. I had barely touched the fruit before it dropped effortlessly into my outstretched fingers. There is no sweeter moment.
To think that so many people on this planet no longer experience these moments of connection with dirt, with plants, with bugs, with succulence and maturity is disheartening. These days I know it’s truly a privilege and I’m so grateful I was eagerly shown but also allowed to discover this magic on my own. These moments are what make me want to dance, to giggle and fall down laughing and rolling in the dirt. How to spread them? How to show them to people, to youth, in a way that they can understand amidst all of the modern day distractions and desires for instant gratification when you know it takes days, weeks, months, years even, to cultivate such things? These are the questions…