I’m stepping away from the garden for a few days (going to DEEtroit, especially to hit my favorite spice shop downtown), so I thought I would leave you with words that are not my own. (I feel I’ve been overly wordy lately anyway.)
Eleanor Perenyi has not written enough on gardening, in my mind; she is my favorite writer on the garden, though. I tried to find her take on peonies, as she had said something profound about their ability to drop their petals “like prom dresses atop the grand piano,” or some such; don’t quote me. But instead I found this paragraph on vegetables. Please note the date, and her sentiments.
“All that has changed. I am a full-time resident now and not as hell-bent as I used to be. I have cut down on many things, but nothing short of total decrepitude could make me decide to give up the vegetables. Ordinary greed comes into it, of course, and the bolstering of insecurities: Scarlett O’Hara grubbing for yams evidently made more of an impression than I realized at the time. But most of all they bewitch me with their textures, infinitely varied forms, even their sounds–the silky rustle of cabbages, the rattle of peas in their pods. Whether in orderly rows in the garden or lying in a heap on the kitchen table, they are almost too beautiful to eat, which at least proves that one isn’t just a hog. Given the aesthetic choice, I prefer vegetables to fruits or flowers. I am hardly the first to experience this half-worshipful emotion (think what Chardin could do with a scallion or a plum), but it is undoubtedly sharpened by the premonition that I may be the last. The seven-year-old-son of one of my garden helpers brought this home to me the other day. An intelligent child, he wanted to know what were the pea pods he saw lying in the compost heap. I explained. Still a blank, and it came to me that although he knew perfectly well what peas were, he had supposed they came out of a cardboard box, frozen. And there will soon be many more of him than me. Already I am something of a freak in the community on account of my vegetables, herbs and fruits. I foresee the day when I graduate from freak to witch.” from Green Thoughts: a Writer in the Garden, 1981.