Monday, December 31, 2018

Is A Thousand Words Enough?

A good friend put the not fully formed thought into words - allowing me to contemplate something I knew, but hadn't really articulated before.  A farmer will rarely experience beauty as thoroughly as they do when a crop is at its peak in health and vigor.  And that same farmer will experience a form of grief as they harvest that crop, converting that beauty to something else.  Sometimes, the process continues over a number of days and other times, the change occurs in moments.

The Bronze Arrowhead lettuce is one of those crops that often experiences a longer period of change.  Typically, we grow our lettuce in two rows per bed.  When the plants approach early harvest size, the rows are vibrant with green, tinged with a hint of magenta.  Each plant forms a part of the whole, a mound of leaves that covers the ground and crowds out any other plants that may want to compete for space and resources.  It is at this point that the farmer should get out his camera (mental or real) to take a snapshot of success.

We often will harvest every other plant in these rows, giving more space to the remaining plants so that they can continue to develop and add bulk.  But, now there are stumps that were once healthy plants marring that row.  A few leaves lie between rows where the farmer removed them from the head, deciding they were going to reduce the rest of the head's desirability by their presence.  If all goes well, the row will look nearly as good when the remaining plants expand to cover the voids left by the absence of their former companions.  But, the time will come when these heads will also be removed, hopefully to be parts of delicious (and attractive) meals.

The farmer might be caught humming pleasantly to himself as he harvests a crop that has done well.  But, you might catch that same farmer looking back over the row with a look that hints at melancholy. 

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