I planted my first garden as an adult at a rented house in Arlington. Every evening when I came home from work, I would look at my plants, pluck a few weeds, and sometimes plan dinner before I even entered the house. It was calming and left me feeling productive and gratified. One of the things I loved most about the garden was how perfect everything was when I picked it. Green beans were crisp and round, summer squash were clear yellow without brown scratches, and tomatoes … well I probably shouldn’t even start.
There is something very satisfying about growing your own food, but also in preparing something for the table that is pleasing to the eye. The world holds a lot of beauty, some of which is quite grand and some of which offers itself to us in everyday things. The fact that my garden produces both food and beauty astonishes me with each new gardening season. This would be enough, in and of itself, but I am also lucky to know other people who feel the same way.
Last weekend as we gleaned USDA’s fields, my fellow volunteers and I admired the crops. Then Dan mentioned that he had heard of people using vegetables as bouquets. At that point, I realized I had ample evidence that this could be done, not just by creating radish roses on vegetable plates. There was Renee with an armload of bok choi…
As John Ames writes in Marilynne Robinson’s novel Gilead, “Wherever you turn your eyes the world can shine like transfiguration. You don’t have to bring a thing to it except a little willingness to see.” I wish you a daily dose of small beauties.