Isn’t it amazing how when squash is ready, it is not just one or two squash but several that are ready to be picked at once? I was in my vegetable garden earlier this week, picking squash, and I recalled gardens from my childhood. How I loved my bare feet in freshly tilled soil. How I loved the smell of the upturned earth; the scent of tomato plant leaves; the rough tongues of the squash. As I pulled off the squash, I couldn’t help but think I was a midwife of sorts, twisting yellow babies away from their life source. As I washed them under the cold tap inside, the leftover piece of flesh that linked the squash to the plant made me think of an umbilical cord, and the soil was a brown vernix that I scrubbed away before placing the squash on the table where I could admire it before consuming it. While I dislike cooking, I admit that going to the garden, pulling the lettuce and tomatoes from my own yard for a salad, brings me great pleasure. Somehow cooking becomes reverent, sacrosanct, when I’ve had the blessing of planting the seeds and watching them grow day by day — helping create, in a minor way, the food that ends up on my table.
Watermelon vines are inching all over the garden (I should plant them farther apart next year), and I eagerly await my cucumbers, because I’m going to try my hand at homemade pickles. Recipes or advice welcome….In the meantime, I feel a poem sprouting about birthing squash….