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Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Old, supernumerary, and greedy


The Dark has descended; I see very little of the home place these days, being in town in a large, windowless building, five days a week, and often attending meetings in the evening and getting home around nine. So any meetings that are scheduled for weekends are anathema to me -- I have hay to move -- firewood to process -- insulation to install -- frustration!

I imagine many others, having realized that their own tiny patch of soil may be needed for their survival and well-being, are experiencing the same dissonance; the need to earn that mysterious stuff, money, trumping what feels in the bones more like common sense: real productivity.

We had the youngest two home for dinner, along with Daughter's gentlemanly Young Man, for a good and quiet time and Too Much Food with Long Food Miles, and, as I do every year at this time, I fall into a relatively deep funk, feeling old, supernumerary, and greedy for fats and sugars, and tumble into bed two hours earlier and awaken at four-thirty in the morning, sore from tossing and turning with the undigested unnecessaries that have been romping about in my middle.

Some things got done. I did, during the long weekend, find time to move hay onto beds one through twelve, and completed building the mulch underneath the grape arbor. I also set up the iron tee posts on beds two, four, and six, stringing wire along their tops, for next year's tomatoes and beans. Built bed nineteen, and painted the south wall of the house. Patched a hole in the dining room floor.

It was sunny enough, sometimes, to break routine in a lawn chair with a glass of tea, listening to a laundry list of complaints from our White China gander.

Also made one really splendid fresh garden salad, that featured kale, beet greens, bok choi, red and green chard, onion greens, and the last of the fall lettuce and the Roma tomatoes. But most of this year's festival cooking fell upon Beloved, who has a more certain hand with the recipes favored by company.

As I grow paler, crinklier, tubbier, and surlier each fall, I retreat into gardening books, where the photos of sunny plots crammed with shining, squeaky clean, lean, green leaves forms a mental salve against the sordid reality of feasting against the background of an increasing world famine.

The next month will be even darker. At some point, I will balk even at ogling pictures of green leaves and curl up deep in the blankets with a pile of Patricia Cornwell novels. World, begone! I'll see you when the trees break forth in bloom.


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