Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Bittersweet – Onion Patch

A vast array of emotions washed over me as I raked thick clumps of wet dead leaves, rotted wood stakes from gardens past and tangled roots, to reveal a healthy onion patch. Their pungent odor blended with black, fresh earth and last season’s pig manure from the nearby empty pen.

I was able to work outdoors wearing a tank top and shorts – glorious. I almost broke a sweat. I smiled. Relentless black flies would be swarming in a week or so; I savored buglessness. Remnants of death create fertile soil. To rejoice, I dug my fingers into the still icy dampness and squeeze. A considerable spider with a yellow stripe on its back hesitated on a mud covered rock, anticipating possible death on the heel of my garden shoe. We parted ways.

I followed the offensive reconstituted scent of pigs, recalling uninvited highlights of their short lives, confirming that I could not eat anything with a face. As hard as I tried to avoid eye contact with them, we always managed to catch glimpses of each other. I was their reluctant ally; their ally after the fact. I realized their souls amidst their heaven – filth and stench.

With rake in hand, I returned to the garden of intrigue, where mysterious things that come into flower were planted by the hands and sweat of another, one known to me only through this wondrous patch of earth.

Hundreds of crocuses continue to radiate; snowdrops pass by; daffodils quiver – about to explode, and tulips hold promise.

It began to rain softly. The ochre sky offered no guarantees. I shuffled my feet on the last stubborn snow bank to wash the treads of my sneakers before going inside. I tracked mud into the kitchen and threw one more log on the bed of hot coals in case the sun did not return.

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