We are in the movement between seasons in the garden. The winter greens and root crops are winding down, the spring and summer tomatoes and peppers and squashes are sinking in their new roots. The cycle of life to death to life again is especially graphic and poignant at transition seasons.
Reappearing as green shoots in midwinter, the artichoke plants become hearty, robust, and bushy by early spring. The fronds are thick and muscular; one can’t see through the plants. For weeks now, the chokes have been forming and being harvested by the half dozen. And for weeks, at first indiscernibly, the fronds have been thinning.
Now in May the bushes themselves show gaps as the greying and semi-limp fronds hold aloft the latest chokes. The robust life energy that grew the plants has been steadily going into the fruits and literally leaving the plants behind. With awed appreciation we realize that when we eat the artichokes, that life energy is directly gifted to us. It becomes ours. Gassho.
As the artichoke plants are sighing back down to the soil, the corn is popping up. Two weeks ago we planted corn kernels in beds enriched by debris from lettuces, kales, and other winter crops that had run their course and then layered with compost and mulch. On Tuesday this week there was no sign of the corn. On Thursday the sprouts were two inches high.
Life! Given good soil, nutrition and water, the seeds and kernels of this season’s veggies say, “Yes! I’m ready; let’s go!” This is their time.
And it is also the artichokes’ time, just a different time.
Seasons, undulations, givings and receivings. It All surrounds us in the garden. And we participate: human and artichoke, snap pea and bright new spear of corn.