Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Rhonda, Part II

Dear Elena,

Do you remember when I was so braindead to the world because I’d been hit with too much betrayal and transition and I had my house to sell and a yard/garden full of weeds and you came over and just did the work since I was totally paralyzed at the thought of where-do-I-even-start? Well, I started to repay you just a little bit today.

This is how the community on the island works. A woman named Rena lives next door to where I live and has a small farm there. She had back surgery this year so she’s taking a break from growing. However, she wants her facilities to be used for good things, so she offered Rhonda the use of her greenhouses. This is a huge boon for Rhonda since she won’t be able to afford building greenhouses for another couple of years and she get a jump on spring planting in this crucial first planting.

So, I went with Rhonda and we cleared out two of the three greenhouses in about five hours. I don’t think I’ve worked that hard since I got here. In the second greenhouse, Rena had been growing cherry tomatoes and the vines were all tangled in the trellis with rope and by their own machinations. All of the plants were completely dried out and moldy. I cleaned that all by myself. It was like hacking through the jungle with Indiana Jones, if I do say so myself. The satisfaction involved in completing that task was like building something but in reverse. Both involve looking at a new image when the job is done and knowing that I was responsible for the change. It was a gorgeous day. It had snowed the day before but the sun was out, making the colors of the farm brilliant as the snow melted. As the greenhouses warmed up as the day went by, the snow would melt and slough off. Neat. We took a break in the middle of the work to eat peanut butter and homemade plum jam sandwiches and to drink homemade chai tea. We cleared every dead thing out of those greenhouses, leaving perfect, chocolaty, turned and raked soil beds. Rhonda like to let the new equilibrium get established before planting seeds so we got to leave all that potential when we came back to my house for some navy bean soup that I had made. She likes to honor the fact that most of what happens in growing doesn’t have anything to do with the farmer.

We’ll just leave that metaphor unspoken and simply enjoy it.

No comments: