...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

What to Do with Too Much

That time of the season has arrived.
Sooner or later in a good year a common gardener faces it:
How do you process, how do you accept that there is more out there than you can possibly use.
Do you give it away?
Do you chide yourself for planting too much in the first place?
Do you let it go to seed in the hopes that it will re-seed itself and produce volunteer offspring the next year?
The way we face the dilemma tells us more about ourselves than we realize.

Early morning today dawned bright and beautiful outside--much more so than within, and so I waited to do my garden tending until I took a bike ride along my favorite river trail.

And the river, too, was bright and beautiful...and very still. 
 I saw two fishermen in the water. 
Two fishermen like statues.  Armpit deep.  Holding poles.  Silent as monks.
And I thought about gathering.
I thought how commercial fishermen haul in nets--even back to ancient times.
The sweat and the strain, the need for much more than enough,
because more than enough is the only way to sustain the "industry" of it.
Then I thought of the two old men I saw fishing.
One fish at a time.
What different modes of approach for the same activity.
And it felt like I touched something sacred there.
We know so well what to do in a dark place: we turn our eyes to whatever bright spot (no matter how dim) we can find.  But what do we do when we stand in the brilliance?
We know what to do in our poverty. We cry our need out to our Maker. 
Our instinct informs us.
It is our excess, our more than enough that gets us into trouble.
We forget the best things to do with that.
So today, after considering the shelf of canned goods and seeing it well-stocked, after visiting the garden and hauling in yet another basket of diverse veggies, I packed a bag for a friend...a friend who offers hospitality to so many others, who has, in fact, committed herself to that as a ministry.
At one time, I did make an industry of it all--taking my jars of pickled treasure to market and selling them.  It was not my calling.
I fish with a pole.

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