Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Down to the Parsley

It’s cold the day before Thanksgiving. And it’s time to say goodbye to the faded round of lilac mums I picked from the garden, matched with a few bright yellow and burnished orange ones. I dispose of them in one of my various mulch-pile resting places for old plants, but when I go out to the garden to search among the remaining mum blooms for a few that haven’t lost their bloom the wind is blowing too hard and the low afternoon sun has gone already to shadows. I give up the job after half a minute or so without picking any new ones. With only one near-white blossom preserved from the previous group of blooms, I let it stand by itself in the vase.
A single flower. “Very Japanese,” I say.
But “lonely” is the adjective Anne provides for my single-blossom arrangement.
Thanksgiving morning a delivery car driver calls the house saying she has a delivery for Anne from a Milton florist, but is hopelessly lost. We try to give her directions. Suspense builds over the next twenty minutes, the driver calling back once more for help, until she finally arrives at the front door with a bouquet of harvest-looking blooms – gold and yellow blossoms, some of them mums or overfed daisies, accompanied by sprays of interesting round little berries not resembling anything I see out of doors. The Thanksgiving bouquet is bright and bountiful looking.
Before we go through the woods for grandma’s house, or in our case up Route 95 to Uncle Joel’s, Anne goes out into the garden and finds a few branches of still shiny light-violet mums to join the single white in the vase.
But the big story is the pickings are thin. We have nothing homegrown for the Thanksgiving dinner table (except the kids). The cranberries Anne uses for the cranberry sauce are locally grown because I bought them at the farmers market, and the pumpkin for Sonya’s pumpkin bread was locally acquired from our local supermarket in a canned condition.
Cold weather, especially the windy sort we got for the weekend, keeps me from wanting to meditate in the meditation garden. Outdoors I desire only to keep moving. We go for walks. Saul and I take in the sunset with a quick circuit of the marsh walk one early evening.
“It’s still not five o’clock!” he says, shocked, as we arrive back home in the dark. Where he lives, in Cincinnati, at the western end of the Eastern standard time zone sunset clocks in at almost an hour later.
We hike in the Blue Hills quarries one day last weekend, and traipse through the Arnold Arboretum in Forest Hills the next one. Still thankful, by the time Monday night rolls around we have eaten everything in the house, leftovers included.
I remember, however, my last vegetable garden resource, the redoubtable parsley, which has grown slowly all summer and fall and shakes off cold weather like the Canada Geese and other local waterfowl turn their tail feathers on the icy skim which wrinkles the ponds of the arboretum.
I clipped a couple of handfuls to bring inside – along with a few buds of broccoli – when the wind died down on Sunday. Monday night Sonya mixed the parsley into a simple sauce for pasta, and garnished the meal with the last garden tomato slices on toast with pesto made from our basil.
The garden is passing, but the children are home.

New Wrinkles

The geese do not mind
The skim of ice which threatens
To wrinkle us all.