This rural isle in B.C. has taught me many things and one great one. The true price of food, a carrot, tomato, an oyster, and most important maybe for me personally, a blueberry, peach or plum.
Earlier this summertime, around full moon, as the tide was at its lowest ebb, I walked my favorite stretch of utterly quiet beach, admiring the rock sculptures made by the retreating glacier which carved this sandy landmass some 10,000 years ago. Somewhere high on the bank above, a wood sander whined intermittently, doing its business of maintaining and improving home that most of nature seems to be busily about, the basics of nest, larder, mate-ship and beauty.
A lithe woman steps onto the shoreline carrying a blue bucket and wearing blue rubber gloves. Collecting lunch by the looks of it, since she is heading down towards the now exposed oyster beds, there to collect, cook over an open fire, or grill, then shuck them when they pop open. An ocean offering replete with tasty protein rich meat.
Here the 5 mile diet can often be telescoped to a three mile radius, or less. Here the abundance of your garden may tend to be a much truer indication of your assets than the size of your home. Here new gardeners are often identified by the excitement over their first yield products, when a peach, or plum of a new tree is surely the BEST ever eaten. We newbies, not yet seasoned or worn by the year to year work of it all, are thrilled by what it takes to actually grow an edible, and even more enthralled by the rewards of having done so.
What we do not grow, the community farm (with their delectable CSA offerings), or neighbors usually do. We walk down the lane to get eggs from our favorite chickens and their people. Here we tend an orchard, and many a fine day, our orchard blueberries (or their jams) transform into strawberries, zucchini’s, tomatoes, or corn through barter or gift.
It has been an eye opener to discover what it actually takes to grow fruit. The pruning, hauling seaweed from the beach to fertilize, weeding, spreading the straw for mulch, staking, watering, then comes the harvesting, preserving or trading if you have an excess. This is harder work than I would ever have thought and a gift beyond anything I had imagined.
To be in more intimate relationship with the process of what is required to feed us, on many levels of our beings has been and is, true privilege.
I had never known
the simple yet dizzy delight
of cupping a plump fuzzy glorious
sun drenched fully ripened
full bellied peach who
so graciously let go
her tender hold to
the very branch that
fed her and plopped
into my grateful
summers magic yet again
pulls a rabbit out of a hat
in spite of rising oceans
raging storms and boiling deserts
even through we do not know
what will become of us all
on this day from this tree
the sun shines
upon a perfect peach
that has made itself.