Week 3 – The Vegetative State

I am little more than a cold, hard shell, at first.  It’s hard to imagine that any life lies within my core.  I remind you of a tiny bone, a bone caught in your throat that makes you catch your breath.

Deep within the earth, I take to the moist dark.  In the secret places, I begin to unravel, to change.  The shell is but a husk of my being; I am a fountain of life waiting to spring forth from near nothingness.  All I know of the light is that it is warmth.  I have no ears to hear. I have no eyes to see.  I have no hands to feel.  All I am is being.

Like magic, I push through the earth and into the air, and then suddenly sprout wings.  You may call them leaves, but to me it feels like I am soaring through the air as I grow and grow.  In the secret places underground, my roots run deep, soaking up the life force that helps me reach for the canopy above.

You may call mine a lonely life.  You may say that, since you do not understand my language, that there is no life in my veins.  You may claim that I am an island, desolate, without feelings, vacant.  But I know that I swell and stretch in each moment that I am blessed enough to find existence.  I know as I fill out and flower that there is beauty and purpose in my life.  There is glory in the way my leaves unfold in the morning, in my quivering stem, in my hearty belly of soil.

The season passes.  My seed scatters.  My flowers wither.  My leaves yellow and fall.  I start to shrivel.  I have no remorse about my passing. I once was hard and hollow; I have been bright and full; now I am soft. I lay down, at long last, having reached as far as my tendrils would take me.

You of the long life and wild breath, you think my life is simple.  You think my ways are beneath you.  You think a life like mine is no life at all.  I say to you that this is the life I was blessed with, and in it I rejoice.

You scorn me for not being able to satisfy you, as I am mute, deaf and dumb; however, I have grown my own roots, and life is deeper than you can comprehend.

What if you, oh man, were deprived of your sight; would you stop to have insight?  What if you were stripped of your hearing and powers of speech? As a man who smells and eats and walks about, would you be any less of a man?  Let us strip you of these senses, as well. Let us fill your mouth with cotton, and numb your every nerve.  If you were to feel no space, no scent, no taste, would you be any less human?  Is it what you perceive that makes you who you are, or is it something deeper that reaches into the dark, moist soil in which you are planted and catapults you on an arc of wild metamorphosis?

What are you, if not a seed waiting to sprout wings?

(Top row):
– Beets
– Raspberries
– Carrots
(Middle row):
– 2 heads of lettuce (aren’t they bushy, this week?!?)
– Tatsoi
– LOTS of sugar snap peas
(Bottom row):
– Fava beans
– Eggs

Photo of the maple seed on pavement, courtesy of Stacy Wagoner.

By ekwetzel


3 Responses to Week 3 – The Vegetative State

  1. Joy Healy July 22, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    Your little whirligig is something that you grew up with!! Outside our house were two very large maple trees. In the springtime, these little powerful packets of life would suddenly be dropping and flying all over the place, bespeckling our lawn and drive and, quite frankly, making somewhat of a mess in an urban setting.

    It wasn’t until Dad and I moved north into the Adirondack Mountains that we truly understood what a treasure those two maple trees were. The land we own has numerous evergreens but not too many hardwoods, since our previous owner allowed loggers to come in and cut them for $$$. How much is a 100 year old hardwood tree worth? Not enough, I am sure. In any case, we found ourselves longingly looking at our two maple trees, wishing we could wiggle our noses and find them magically transplanted to our new home. So Dad diligently dug up several sprouting maple plants from hedges and flower beds and carried them north to plant. Out of six planted the first year, only one has survived. So we check that little growing tree constantly, as a mother hen broods over her chickies.

    The other interesting seed that we had in our lawn in Colonie was that of the Black Walnut tree. Again, last fall when the seeds were all over the lawn and the squirrels were delighted that they would have a great stash for a long winter, Dad went out with buckets and bags and scooped up many, many of them. Then, when our grand-daughters were visiting from DuPont, WA last September, they took a walk with G’Pa and had the delighteful task of JohnyyAppleSeeding those rather large seeds all over our property. Now it is up to us to wait patiently until we can actually see some of them sprouting and producing that wonderful tree.

    I went out berry picking this morning again. Mother Nature should carry a “WARNING: Don’t pick too long as it can cause back pain!” I went out at 6:30 am when the light was just coming up and the dew was in large droplets all over the leaves and grass. By the time an hour of picking had passed, I was wet but had a nice bag of berries (a pint plus). So I came in and Dad and I had freshly picked berries with our granola and coffee. I then went back out. One of the hardest things about picking berries is enduring the heat from the sun. That was not a problem today. The sun was, indeed, shining, but it was not hot. So I picked and picked…and picked (you get the picture) until I was almost sick. By the time I made it back to the house I was verrrrry uncomfortable. Just about all I could do was peel off my wet clothes, climb the long flight of stairs, pop a slice of freshly made bread (yesterday), slather it with crunchy peanut butter, pour a cup of OJ and eat…and then slip into a hot tub. One is never too old to learn a lesson – 3 hours of picking berries in a bent-over position is “probably” too long. I pleaded with my mate to remind me that an hour at a time of berry picking is a “good” thing. And, so, another day of learnng how to be retired 🙂

  2. Sherri Erickson July 27, 2010 at 8:36 pm #

    Your week 3 CSA box is amazing in its completeness, simple complexity, and visually stunning. When the farm folks packed the box I’m sure they had no idea it could displayed as artfully as this. I hope you both enjoyed everything in it. Stephen and I have tried Golden Swiss Chard, Italian Kale and kolrabi is next. Our CSA box comes with recipes. I love that.

  3. ekwetzel July 28, 2010 at 10:03 am #

    Glad that you both enjoyed this post ;o)