An archive of notes from 2015—2019
Walking through some nature in the big back woods one recent day, I witnessed the canopy of pine leaves grant the sun permission to enter. That day jabbed at my mind the way the sun did the mud, darting across bits of shade on the rain-soaked path. I chased that ribbon of gold, it so looked warm! And when I reached for it, it fled to land its light on something other than me like a tease.
The crunch of old leaves competed with the fresh smell of the greenest grass; it smelled like spring and looked as free-spirited. But the California drought had made its mark with a right-angled scar carved into the scenery, and I felt small in the grand scheme.
Back inside, I couldn’t stop staring through the window at your garden. With its perfect rows of lively goods, not wild on their own but growing as your mandate, your edible little army. It felt all stuffed up! Stifled and so unnatural in its forced perfection, all that commanded stillness. The lettuces just sitting there, ripe and open, perfectly, but frozen in time until you say, Ok, Greens! Now! Unleash your leaves, peel it all off, it’s time to enjoy and be enjoyed! Why should they have to wait for you!? What if they’re ready already, or they have things to do? Salads to be a part of, or sandwich bread to lay down on, or what have you. They’re not getting any satisfaction just sitting there in rows, waiting for their purpose, waiting for your word, waiting for you.
I wasn’t as angry as it sounds, but I will admit I was throwing a tantrum; one that requires a driver’s license, so more adult than a toddler but not quite fitting of my age.
You know I’d rather die than be ignored.
So, I uprooted it all, had to strip it down and get dirty. I wanted to do it together, but then suddenly, of course, you were busy. I thought we would harvest this thing, maybe make dinner with the perfect specimens we could pull from the earth; get our hands and bodies all muddied up for the greater good – of us both! But you can be such a moving target, all dressed, all the time.
I guess by now you’ve seen that I ran your garden over. Not just drove through it, but tore through it, with my 4×4 all wheel drive. That means all wheels, all the time, babe. My 315s shot romaine in their wake like a wood chipper, a canon even, with a trajectory so impressive and effortless the leaves flailed through the air like an edible peter pan.
I put your salad shooter to shame with one swift skid. Tomatoes became salsa with a whip of my whip, no need to dice the onions. Your avocados didn’t stand a chance against my knobby tires, which invalidated your chef’s knife, sharp as it may be; you couldn’t have done it better with an eighteen-wheeler. I embarrassed your little food processor, sitting clean on the counter, and you know what? The guacamole has never been fresher.
Plus, I was listening to tunes the whole time.
Oh the fruits? Glad you asked, little darlin. I pulverized your blackberry bushes so freakin hard that jam would be embarrassed to call itself a purée.
Donuts and burnouts on root vegetables, bitches flipped over your cruciferous – honestly, I think my skills would have impressed you despite the damage done. Some odd combination of focused Formula One racing and reckless joyriding, my newfound skills vehicularly lifted up produce then rained it down. I cranked a hard right – so much fucking torque! Then it all fell from the sky, acrobatically and in slow motion. From far away you’d have thought it was the vegetable ballet, a real choreographed elegant 10-footer.
Up close it was more like a gameshow wind-tunnel money machine; and no one stands a chance in those.
The romenesco was impressive, I will say. It stood up to my carnivorous maneuvers like two giant, space titties from Planet Brassica, defying geometry and physics in their approximation to fractals, naturally, with ease, and in the loveliest shade of chartreuse. But the spinach wilted at my approach, destroying itself before I made my next move. Iron deficiency, I guess.
And I could have kept un planting everything with my four wheels until I got to dinosaur bones, but that would have been excessive. The lettuces stuck to the shaft of my vehicle and I felt badly for the worms. I’m not going to replant it alone, but I know that with your green thumb we’ll have no trouble at all bringing it back to life.
I was thinking while we wait for seeds to take root we should probably order some spring rolls and drink a bottle of wine, one at least. The back of a truck might feel more natural than a garden – just imagining its diesel fumes and old vinyl smells perks me right up.
I don’t like clever food. So, we won’t eat some stupid fried chicken with an egg on it, or cotton candy lit on fire. We’ll have something with dirt stuck to it, overlooking the fringe neighborhoods of LA. Even if that’s just sand in our sandwiches or dust in our salami; we did ride in on our motorcycles.
We need a dirty-ish white wine, too, I have just the thing! We’ll drink it delicately from nice stemware, civilized and all that, but sitting on the ground, fingering the earth, eating something simple, and open-mouth kissing in between. I don’t even mind if you light me up! I know I deserve it. But I’ll take your reprimand over fancy foam reduction any day.
Maybe we should wash my feet in the sink and then open another bottle…
Sorry about your garden. I didn’t harm the flowers. There’s still some daylight left. We can replant it together.
Let’s start with the strawberries so they’re ready for your birthday in summer.
Then we’ll eat them in the hammock, we’ll hang it in our garden.