It’s late September and both the sun and the moon have taken on a rich golden cast. Tomato plants and bean vines turn to yellow skeletons, their arms spent from cradling the lush fruits of summer.
In my freezer, there are plastic storage bags of okra, peas, corn, peaches and tomatoes, neatly labeled and stacked. Some of these I grew, but most were received from the bounty of friends. “Hey, it’s Jenny. Are you sure you can’t use another basket of cucumbers?”
I’m writing about a stalwart pioneer woman today. In her September, harvest is heavy on her mind. Bags of squash and corn will not mysteriously appear on her doorstep. All summer, she has scraped powdery soil with a broken-handled hoe. When the rain came, it washed away most of the the corn seedlings. There were insects, and deer, and rabbits, and gophers. Oh, those blasted gophers.
But, like a miracle, the garden took hold and she and the children have braided corn garlands until their hands hurt. The root crops will soon be dug, cleaned and stacked in the small cellar under the cabin floorboards. Her apple trees have finally begun bearing a modest crop and there will be strings of dried, sliced fruit hanging in the cabin. Her apron has carried bushels of wild persimmons and berries found along the creek, which she will crush and dry into fruit leather. With the venison her husband cures and some luck, they might not spend a long hungry winter.
I am thankful for her tenaciousness and graceful strength. She might have been my great-grandmother. Maybe I inherited some of her resolve. Today, as I write, we are sisters separated by a hundred and fifty years and mind-blowing technological advances.
One more bushel of apples to peel, she says, stretching her aching back. One more paragraph, I say, as I start another pot of coffee and try to picture her face.
All the best,
|The Prairie Is My Garden|