Monday, August 29, 2011

Squash Blossom 2011

One of the most beautiful flowers I believe I have ever seen is the squash blossom. My ancestors thought so much of this flower that it was incorporated into clothing, footwear, jewelry, and accessories for hundreds of years. The squash blossom in its simple beauty also served as a reminder that some of the bounty of the early harvest was coming soon. It was a portent of the late harvest to come as well.

It was and is a symbol of beauty and fragility too. For the last four years, I have kept a garden at my house, and every year I write a post as I see the squash blossom open early in the morning to sunbathe it’s delicate saffron petals. I feel like skills like growing food are becoming quickly forgotten in the West. In my family, we have always grown food, and we have had a longstanding tradition of sharing our harvest with friends and neighbors, and canning some of our harvest to store for the winter months as well.

I realized that I was missing a great deal by not having a garden. I was missing an understanding of where food comes from. I was missing an awareness of what it means to labor for my food. I was missing the joy that comes at harvest time when there is food to eat and grand celebration. My family is Shawnee, and many of my tribe’s ancient ceremonies are intricately tied to planting and harvest.

This year, I have had the distinct joy of planting together with my wife. It is the first time in her life she has planted any crop. And it is exciting to watch her eyes light up as well when she sees the seeds that she planted earlier this year provide food for our new life together and food that we can share with others.

There is an unexplainable sense of gratitude I feel to the Creator of the universe that I experience uniquely when I taste and see the harvest coming. All I did was prepare the soil and drop a seed in the ground, and then amazingly that seed becomes a plant and that plant produces food. Around the world and throughout the history of humanity, I believe that farmers around the world experience that wonderful mixture of gratitude and joy that happens when they see the growth of their crop and they prepare for the harvest and celebration of food to eat for their families.

And for me and my wife this year, we look at the beautiful bouquet of squash blossoms erupting from our garden as an indicator of the harvest to come, and we are thankful.


Eric Asp said...

Have you ever read "Jayber Crow," by Wendell Berry? I think you would really enjoy it. It's been one of my favorite reads from the last year.

Eric Asp said...

I mention the book, by the way, because your post reminds me of the book. ;-)