So far this spring, I’ve been able to harvest two small handfuls of food from my garden. The first was dandelion roots dug up, washed and then sauteed and eaten. The second was greens – radish thinnings, salad burnet, a tiny bit of tarragon (and some arugula I was growing indoors). Somehow those first handfuls of food always seem special too me, even if it is barely enough to make a single serving out of. It is the reminder that food will be arriving. It is the promise on my part that I will not let this season pass me by and I will not let food go to waste.
Spring brings with it two food goals, the first of which is to use up whatever food I put away last year that I haven’t yet used up. I’m bringing up from the basement the extra pickled veggies, and I’m trying to clean out the freezer. I know I am lucky to have this food. Historically spring was the hungry time when last years food was running out and the next years not available. Extra food, even just pickled vegetables and frozen pumpkin, is a reminder of the abundance we live with. Making use of last years harvest is a way of not taking our abundance for granted.
The second goal is to make use of what is coming available now. Each plant has its own season and if I miss it, then I miss it. Sauteing dandelion roots is a way of living in the moment, recognizing this season’s possibilities and treasuring them.
I’ve read that one form of torture is to keep a person where they cannot tell the passing of time. A prisoner’s meals might be randomly spaced, the lights are turned on and off at random, and the person has no way of keeping track of the time. The effects on the person’s mental abilities are supposedly quite obvious. I wonder if in some ways there are effects from subtler disconnections with the passing of time. I don’t know.
I do know that I love how my food choices help to reconnect me with the lessons I want to learn anyway, about gratitude, patience, and seizing the opportunity.