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Rhubarb

We have rhubarb in our backyard and it yields fruit through the summer. Kathy and I grew up where rhubarb was inexpensive and plentiful. It made great pies, jams, canned fruit, and was edible, with sugar, when eaten raw as it is tart.

It is interesting to note how, as we age, we notice things that seemed less relevant earlier. Larry Schug reminded me about rhubarb. I took this particular plant for granted as I grew up, but they create miracles as do other plants and animals in our world. Rhubarb provided an inexpensive dessert and snack that, as I recall, seemed available year round in some form.

When I reflect on nature, I see miracles and the ordinary is more powerful than when taken for granted. Nature is a great provider and takes care of human needs in ways that are not always readily evident unless I take time to see treasures provided.

By April, sour red stalks
push elephant-ear leaves
into near-earth atmosphere.
Rhubarb plans ahead,
years, decades even,
lives sustainably on the interest
of sunlight stored under ground,
having folded up its solar collectors
in September,
when the days grow too short
to make sugar.
See how simple is a miracle.

About ivonprefontaine

I have been an educator for almost 20 years. Prior to that, I worked in private industry for 15 years, then returned to university to earn my education degree. For the past 11 years, I have been a co-creator of learning in a unique, progressive, alternative educational school of choice. Currently, I am engaged in a doctoral program at Gonzaga University in Spokane. A main theme in my learning there has been the roles of systems thinking, complexity theory, and organizational theory, and how they apply to education generally and the learning environment I share with students, parents, and colleagues.

14 responses »

  1. I haven’t thought about dipping rhubarb in the sugar bowl in so very many years. Thank you for evoking such a lovely memory.

    Reply
  2. I love your poem, and the memories it stirred, as well as the deeper truth in it.
    We just had our first rhubarb crisp last night, made from rhubarb from our garden. No matter how poorly the rest of the garden does, I know I can count on the rhubarb. It grew by the side of the garage when I was a kid. My mom used to boil it with sugar and water to make a kind of sauce that she poured over vanilla ice cream.
    Thanks for a lovely post, Ivon.

    Reply
  3. a joyful reminder of RHUBARB!
    to calm and appease my mind
    i will have to obtain and consume some soon :-)

    Reply
  4. Ivon didn’t mention that our particular rhubarb root is descended from a plant brought to Alberta by my great grandfather in the late 1800s. It is late growing this year with our delayed (cold!) spring. We share some with a neighbor who brings back wonderful baked rhubarb goodies!

    Reply
  5. I also grew up where rhubarb was plentiful. It isn’t one of my favorite fruits anymore. My hubby and I seemed to enjoy rhubarb dipped in sugar more when we were young children. :)

    Reply
    • When I was growing up, the readiness and inexpensiveness of rhubarb probably made it a treat when we were allowed to dip it in sugar.

      Reply
      • You are so right! It was so the norm, to dip it in sugar. How we change as we get older or maybe just get wiser. :) I wouldn’t think of dipping it in sugar anymore. It really was a yummy treat when I was a little girl.

      • It is interesting how we change and how memories come back. I had been thinking about rhubarb and saw this poem.

  6. Thank-you for waking up memories in
    me as well. Lovely poem. :) Renee

    Reply

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