My mind is blank today. The sun shines into my eyes. I see the tops of the trees. The power cables are long and sagging in the middle inviting the birds to swing away. The seat in front of me is empty. The sky is light blue with streaks of white clouds. There are houses veiled by the green of the woods. There are cars dying away in an empty yard strewn with trash. There is no purpose in my writing today. I feel free.
Just this week on Sunday, it seems like eons ago now, I had the sun on my back, sitting on the soft green grass, shelling pungent green onions fresh off the soil, and watching my husband sweat it out on our small kitchen garden. This year we are planting potatoes, string beans, brown beans, okra, tomatoes, asparagus, red chilies, and flowers.
Two neat rows of flowers will be followed by one and half row of potatoes and okra, with the beans sprinkled in between. Beans like to tangle and wrap around a sturdier plant for support. I don’t care much for the flowers. My father in law is the mastermind behind all these details and he directs all of us with the zeal of an avid gardener and an agriculture expert that he is.
We prepared the rows a month ago. One mild evening, we came out and turned the crusted earth top releasing the soft, moist, and fragrant earth underneath. We prepared neat rows of beds for the seeds to come to life. My husband who is somewhat of a perfectionist measured out the rows and tried to keep them parallel but the earth refused and it turned and it flowed whichever way it wanted to.
We made small holes in the rows around eight to ten in each, they looked like small palms cupped for prayers. The seeds were laid to rest cushioned by the dark soft market bought miracle grow filled to the brink. The wrinkled bluish and brown potato spuds; the small green crisp and round okra seeds; and the thin long and fragile string beans; we took them all out one by one and placed them into the soil pockets with reverence.
I see the sun shine on my nine month old daughter’s face. Her cheeks are rosy and her hair is tussled against the early warm winds. I watch over her protectively as a bee hovers nearby restraining myself from sweeping her off the ground and taking her inside the protective cloud of our home.
Nearby the green onions are coming off one by one, it is a slow process, where the clingy earth has to be removed from around the onion bulb. The onions come out with the roots still intact, smooth white bulbs giving way to long green stalks. All graceful, all perfect. Later in the evening, I will run the onions through cold tap water to remove the crusted earth underneath. They will taste nice and fresh fried with a little olive oil, salt and pepper. It is times like these when I feel at peace and grateful for the lives around me and writing about it is one more opportunity to relive it all.