Thursday, September 30, 2010

the tour bus leaves in ten minutes

A friend of mine admitted that she suffers a mild depression at the end of August because she anticipates the arrival of fall and winter. Perhaps she maintains her own version of the tradition that Montaigne describes in his essay "That to philosophize is to prepare to die":

…and as the Egyptians, after their feasts, had a large image of death shown to the guests by a man who called out to them: “Drink and be merry, for when you are dead you will be like this”….

The harbingers of decay in the midst of plenty were few in the garden on August 28—but if you paid attention, you could spot them: the ends of the leaves of the tomato plants were curling, and wildflowers were becoming dry and brittle.

Even while showing its age, the garden was yet prolific: tomatoes and peppers glowed in the morning sun; the squash flowers bloomed; the chard was lush; and the pears were alarmingly large. We gathered the harvest, weighed it, and packed it in the bike cart.

Some of these pears are as large as an infant's head.

Summer squash blossoms

It was, as usual, surprising to see how the produce looked once arranged in baskets.

The volunteers and clients of the Vital Bridges pantry usually refer to me as "the garden", as in, "Hello, garden!" or, "The garden's here!" An odd synecdoche: the actual garden, along with all but one of the volunteers who work in it, is a couple of miles south of the pantry.

I returned to the garden to find a throng of people. We were apparently the final stop of a community garden tour hosted by NeighborSpace.

We stood around, unprepared for guests, amid unkempt flowerbeds and strewn seedling pots, and failed to resemble respectable and knowledgeable gardeners.