It’s been a long week for all of us, including flu shots and incipient molars as well as a host of other, more significant challenges. Friday comes and we’re pretty much beat. More than beat, we’re beaten down, a little, by circumstances and the persistent tiredness of not being able to see what comes next that might fix the things that need it.
So what else is there to do, really, but head out into the evening garden for potatoes? The fingerlings have gone untouched so far, since they were planted late and we harvested the yellow potatoes earlier and are still working through them. But I wanted fingerlings, specifically, to go with the local lamb burgers and sauteed kale I was planning, and the boys surely needed some kind of existential shift. We all did. So out we went, with pitchfork and hod, and I dug and sifted while the boys pulled the bright beads from the soil. Some were serious potatoes, but most were the kind of thumb-sized beauties that gave rise to their name. Every time one came to light, Ezra would shout with joy, and he had a hard time taking turns with his brother (assisted, no doubt, by said brother’s stubby one-year-old arms). Two-thirds of the crop is still in the ground, since the bugs found us shortly after we hit our stride, and we had enough for dinner, anyway.
While we were out there, we brought in a massive bunch of kale, a smaller assortment of late zinnias, marigolds, and bachelor’s buttons, as well as a few carrots whose impressive tops made us pull them just out of curiosity. (Our fridge is full of carrots already.) And of course, the raspberries have been loving this frost-free October, putting forth nearly as much ripe fruit as they did all summer, and better. It was an evening to remember.
Every time we bring in flowers, Ezra helps arrange them in a vase, and then he says, in a tight, excited voice: “We have to have a celebration! To celebrate these flowers!” And indeed we do. Three-year-old vision is sometimes so impeccably clear.
Best of all was Ezra’s request, at dinner, that we give thanks (which we do sometimes, but not often enough). We held hands, and I spoke my gratitude for these sweet men, for this good food and the land on which it grew. A few bites later, Ezra wanted more: Papa gave thanks for our family, and for all the love, and for the many people who grew the food we eat. And then, Ezra himself spoke a bit later:
“Thank you for the good Ezra-Mama-Chi day and for whole-family-day tomorrow.
Thank you for the fruit and flowers that grow all around us.
And for the vegetables that grow all around us.”
As I write, my heart spilling over, my eyes rise to the prints on my desk, gifts from my artist friend Kim Crichton: “Grow.” “Nurture.” “Sow.” (You have to see the images to really get them, but when you do, you’ll see why I’m all weepy over all this together.) From a day when it seemed like nothing could come together, I all of a sudden see that in this moment, everything has.