Let It Grow Organic Gardens

And I resumed the struggle. -Vladimir

Saturday, February 12, 2005

And Then Everything Was Upside-Down

We have said nothing about Chiraco until we take into account his most personal views about the artichoke ….
-Andre Breton

There’s five pounds of bloodmeal under my kitchen table.
There’s half a pallet of potting soil in the back of my truck.
There are twelve cardboard boxes of seed on my bed.
I have enough odd-shaped plastic planting containers to fill a banquet room at San Simeon. Twice.
I have blue plastic containers full of kerosene.
I have garden hoses, garden hoses, garden hoses.
I have well organized planting sheets, dutifully copied at Kinko’s and stored in a 3-ring binder.
I have Bic pens.

I have stared death in the face and laughed. I’m not yours today, I said.

Cover crop is coming up strong.
Rye in the lower field. Clover in the upper.
Strawberries are lined up in straight little jam-anticipatory rows.
Spinach stands ready to do battle with Brutus.

I am not afraid, I told the Grim Reaper. I’ll watch you spin around me, and I’ll sneak out the hole in the middle.

There’s new points on the plow.
New fuel lines on the tractor.
There’s a new handle on the pitch fork.
Irrigation line stands prepared on the edge of the field, ready to be deployed.
The tiller stands in the shop, its transmission woes a thing of the past.

Is this what it’s like when it’s all over? I wondered. Can you go back?

There’s new brake lines on the truck.
A new steering gear is in the mail, on its way here.
The doors and the cab are primered, ready to be painted.
As of yesterday morning, there’s a new donut at the exhaust manifold, and as of tomorrow morning, there’ll be a new gasket at the water pump.

I can dive into volcanoes. I can cross the sea. I can fly against the Red Baron. Death be not proud

I rode a freight train through the artichoke capital of the world, once. It’s out there in California, somewhere.
There’s a jar of artichoke hearts in the pantry. I don’t know what to do with them.
Put them in a salad?
My mother made breaded artichokes.
I remember we’d eat dinner on the back porch, sometimes. In the summertime. I remember the table and I remember where my mother would sit and I remember where my sisters would sit. We’d had dinner inside far more times, I’m sure, but I can’t remember what the table looked like.
I don’t have the breaded artichoke recipe, but it shouldn’t be too hard to find. The image of the table on the back porch forms in my mind at any mention of an artichoke, any sight of artichokes in a jar on a grocery store aisle, upon reading about artichoke seeds in a catalog. It’s a peaceful image. It’s full of the wonder and mystery of childhood, and provides me with the warmth and security of a mother’s presence.

Circumstances put me today at a place where I once crashed my truck. I decided it would be a good time to reassess.


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