Friday, July 15, 2022

Friday Ramble - Abundance

I awaken early and trot out to the garden wearing a tatty old t-shirt (more holes than shirt), patched jeans, floppy hat and sandals, carrying secateurs and a mug of Earl Grey. It's wicked hot out there, and the sky is obscured by a high gossamer heat haze. The bumble girls are already surfing for nectar and humming about their appointed work.

The only sentient beings happy about this July heat are the blissfully foraging bees and bumbles, the flowering herbs and the ripening vegetables in village veggie patches: beans, peppers, tomatoes, garlic, chards, leeks, onions and emerging gourds. Most vegetables show a little restraint, but the zucchini and pumpkins (as always) are on the march and threatening to take over entire gardens, if not the whole wide world. Are veggies sentient, and do they have Buddha nature? You bet they do, and I suspect they have long mindful conversations when we are not listening.

Villagers are an eccentric bunch when it comes to gardening. One neighbor grows squash on her veranda, and another has planted cabbages and corn in her flower beds. For years, a guy around the corner cultivated hot peppers in reclaimed plastic storage bins. They were lined up along the sidewalk and driveway in front of his house, and the place looked like a jungle. His enthusiasm was admirable - he only grew hot peppers, and he carefully harvested them, preserving each and every one for winter culinary efforts. Charlie has moved away, and I miss seeing his efforts when I walk by.

Tomatoes are always a marvel. Scarlet or gold, occasionally purpled or striped, they come in all sizes and some surprising shapes. The first juicy heirloom "toms" of the season are the essence of feasting and celebration as they rest on the sideboard: fresh-from-the-garden jewels, rosy and flushed and beaded with early morning dew. A wedge of Brie or Camembert, gluten-free crackers, a sprinkling of sea salt and a few fresh basil leaves are all that is needed to complete both the scene and a summer lunch.

Oh honey sweet and hazy summer abundance... That luscious word made its first appearance in the fourteenth century, coming down to us through Middle English and Old French from the Latin abundāns, meaning overflowing. The adjective form is abundant, and synonyms include: ample, bountiful, copious, exuberant, generous, lavish, 
overflowing, plentiful, plenteous, profuse, prolific, replete, rich, teeming and teeming.

Abundant is the exactly the right word for these days of ripening and plenty, as we weed and water and gather in, chucking things in jars, pickling up a storm and storing summer's bounty to consume somewhere way up the road. Like bees and squirrels, we scurry about, preserving the contents of our gardens to nourish body and soul when temperatures fall and nights grow long. For all the sweetness and abundance held out in offering, there is a subtle ache to these times with their dews and hazes and maturing vegetables. These days are all too fleeting.


Karen Hall said...

These days indeed are indeed too fleeting
So lovely to read your words again, and I am enjoying your images

Barbara Rogers said...

Ever since the solstice, indeed right on it, people have been talking about the coming diminishing days. I know that's true, but so far away, I love rejoicing in these wonderful hot luscious days of summer.

Jennifer said...

Abundance is a good word for the splendor of July!