Some sights from my vegetable garden this week. The tomatoes are finally starting to ripen, though I'm not sure whether this week's blossoms will make it to ripened-fruit stage. The tall, feathery dill are volunteers, but no surprise -- they self-sow and I always leave some to provide fresh dill weed for potato or cucumber salads. And the swallowtail caterpillars seem to like it too. There are a few other volunteers -- one tall sunflower, a red potato plant, and a vine full of what is probably cantalope. Too bad I can't photograph the tastes of all these goodies. And if anyone needs a few zuchinnis, just ask!
One of the delights of my week is our customary Saturday morning outing to Goshen's farmer's market. Here's last Saturday morning -- arriving at sunrise, getting our breakfast at Rachel's Bakery (coffee, and a shared Southern French frittata and pumpkin stollen French bread), and then heading out into the market, enjoying the visual delights of the bounty on display. Brussels sprouts, potatoes, broccoli, bok choy, carrots, kale, apples, eggs...we left with overflowing bags, and haven't finished it all yet, despite extra folks around to celebrate the week with us. And a final photo to commemorate the results of trips like this one -- a colorful bowl of duck soup, chockful of market veggies from the week before -- a soup that my tongue and tummy enjoyed as much as my eyes.
Palmer's seasonal metaphor for the inner journey flows from the new beginnings of scattered fall seeds, to winter dormancy, to the spring flowering of paradox, and so comes to summer's abundance.
Summer is the season of abundance and first harvest. Having traced the seed of true self on its arduous journey from birth, through death and dormancy, into flowering, we can look at the abundance that has grown up within us and ask, “Whom is this meant to feed? Where am I called to give my gifts?” A Hidden Wholeness, p 83
Palmer cautions that the idealists among us ask these questions prematurely -- wanting to serve the world's needs, but burning out trying to do more than we are able. We need first to understand our true self -- the seeds planted in us, the deaths and dormancy, the new life, the fruit. To understand the true self, we need the interior intimacy that comes with solitude and we need the giving and taking, the listening and speaking, the being and doing that comes with community.
I cannot give what I do not possess, so I need to know what gifts have grown up within me that are now ready to be harvested and shared. If the gifts I give are mine, grown from the seed of true self, I can give them without burning out. Like the fruit of a tree, they will replenish themselves in due season. A Hidden Wholeness, p 83
Abundance and harvest -- and then again the scattering of seeds, times of dormancy and paradox, and new growth. The seasons cycle, again and again. In his Circles of Trust, Palmer works with this seasonal metaphor representing a lifetime; his writing reveals the cycles of seasons occurring again and again in his own life.
I shared this seasonal metaphor with a group of friends recently, and one exclaimed, with a sudden shock of recognition, "I'm out of season!" In her current seasonal cycle, she had assumed she was moving into a summertime of abundance and harvest, and instead found herself in an unexpected wintry dormancy, with glimmers of spring paradox.
Outside my window, northern Indiana is moving into winter dormancy. In my interior world, I am living into a variety of spring paradoxes. What season are you in?
Harvest time. Yesterday there was a colorful rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, suddenly ripening at the same time -- yellow Mt Joys, red Big Beef, Rose de Berne and Purple Prudens, Green Zebras, small Black Prince, and even smaller yellow pear tomatoes, and golden cherry tomatoes. They have their cracks and blemishes, but they're still tasty. And it's good they are ripening -- the weather is beginning to change. Geese are honking overhead. First frost is not far away.
And this particular harvest led to a gustatorial spark of light. Supper was spaghetti, with sauce made from tomatoes, zucchini, sweet peppers, basil, and oregano freshly picked from my garden, and sausage and onions that came from a friend's farm. And the salad was greens from the farmers' market. A wonderfully warming meal on a cool fall night, with the distant sound of cheers and horns coming from the GC soccer field. September!
Dew -- what a concept! And a welcome one after several weeks with hardly any rain. Yesterday afternoon there was a brief, heavy downpour, a lovely sight in itself. And then this morning, when I went out to get a few leaves of Swiss chard to have with my poached egg, the grass was wet with dew, and all the plants were sparkling.
One more quote from the article "Times of Abundance," and the spark of light and beauty in imperfection (see yesterday's blog for more on this):
If you get just a few items from a local farmer, or even a few herbs from your windowsill, you create a personal connection to food and to the people and place it came from. The bottom line is that good food is food that connects you to the earth and to others -- it is a very real communion.
I experience that communion on my weekly trips to Goshen's Farmers' Market, and at a weekly breakfast date at Rachel's Bread.
Rachel grew up in Belgium and missed the bread and the ambiance of the bakeries there. She has created her own version here, in her bakery attached to the Farmers' Market -- definitely a spark of light in my week, both for the yummy food and for the fellowship as we visit with friends while we eat.
And then there's the Farmers' Market in the same building.
I take delight in buying veggies that have been grown nearby, by farmers I now know by name. At this time of the year, the variety isn't as colorful as in the supermarket, but it feels more connected to the season I'm experiencing. You can't get much more connected to the earth than the rugged root crops that are available these days. There's a subtle light even in dusty potato skins and dried flowers, and more light in the community that gathers to sell and to buy these goods.
My approach to contemplative photography --
Tell about it."
Mary Oliver in "Sometimes"