Tuesday, June 27, 2006

bleeding hearts

If you want raspberries, come pick mine. I have a bumper crop. I cannot cope.
Thank you. As for those which I wont pick – freeze them.
Actually I am more interested in the challenge of producing a bumper crop than in the harvest of it. So go ahead, pick away.

Such a genuine invitation. I cannot turn it down. I head for the farmette of Ed, known to some of you from Sicily days this spring.

Ed, where are the paths that will lead me to the center of this…jungle?
There are, for the most part, no paths.
How do you reach the canes in the center?

I wear long pants and I have long arms.

Madison summer 06 017

I am not wearing long pants and my arms are average.

After the season, I will do you a tremendous favor: I will clip and cut until there are paths as beautiful as the Boulevard St. Germain.
I can’t let you do that.
It’s okay, I owe it to you. You are generous with your berries.
No, it’s the clipping and pulling out of healthy canes. I cannot do that to them. They are producing fruit – it is unfair to punish them for this.

I think about that. Who on this planet feels sorry for extra vigorous raspberry canes? A bleeding heart plant liberal, that’s who. The same person perhaps who cannot eliminate seedling tomato plants – hundreds of them – because, well, they are growing.

I remember my garden last summer, the one planted by me over the years outside my suburban house. I knew I was about to leave it and there was something that told me it would be okay – I would only be passing it along to the next young family moving in. Over the years, I had been incapable of eliminating vigorous perennials, so that the garden had become very much a jungle of flowers, one towering over another, blooming with abandon but without order, all spring and summer long.

The family that bought the house took a plow to the entire flower bed, taking down everything, even the very beautiful bleeding heart plant that had lived and flourished for more than a dozen years. A gift from my daughters' elementary school for work I had done there. Gone now.

I plowed into the raspberry field with my body only, sweat pants covering my bare legs, short arms reaching for the closest berries. I said nothing more about creating paths or making improvements for future seasons.