Farm to fork
A younger version of myself often thought of gardening as work– I had seen what work did to my parents. Some days they returned home with sun burnt cheeks, peeling skin and a look beyond exhaustion. No hugging allowed until after they showered. They worried the chemicals from low flying crop duster planes would make us sick. The winged buzzer dipped so near they could see the daredevils face. My brothers, sister and I were much more fortunate than other children of migrant workers. We went to school and didn’t miss long stretches to work side by side with our parents.
I don’t grow anything. I am the shepherd of the seeds and land but the magic happens despite me, not because of me. I walk my garden in the morning and in the cool of the evening. The beast that lives within me, the lupus, tempts me often. I know my limits. Choices exist but they come at a cost. Gardening in the moonlight is divine. My husband’s laughter and our soft conversation carry to the stars above. We marvel at the expanse of the sky and gardening is many things– but work it is not.
During the time the sun rules the sky, I wait. From the kitchen window I can see the ripening treasures bend their lifeline low to the ground. Come nightfall, I will garden at my leisure. Hands that were spared the fate of a lost childhood carefully harvest the garden’s offerings. My father’s hands– hands that now bend like the branches of trees they once pruned teach me the secrets of a good shepherd. I must master that. My teacher is becoming tired and the next moonlighter is waiting in the wings.