As we get older, what seemed mundane and work-like in youth holds different meaning for us. I think of this as maturing. My mother told us to go get radishes out of the garden and a variety of other vegetables such as carrots, peas, beans, etc.
What seemed unimportant and even beneath the ordinary gains fresh meaning. It is not only the vegetables, fruits, and flowers that were fresh. Their meaning becomes fresh. Sometimes, the chores were precursors to something more enjoyable. After shelling peas, we biked to the Peace River and rode down hill at break-neck speed.
Susan Auld’s poem brought up the memories of living at a time where box stores were not just a short ride away in the car. We depended on the produce picked from the garden, fresh eggs from a local farmer, and sometimes fresh poultry raised in a makeshift coop in the backyard. We enjoyed Nature’s abundance and freshness. Today, the memories are fresh as they take on new meaning.
Pull up some radishes for dinner, my mother said.
They grow next to the house under your bedroom window.
Afraid I’d pull up something other than a radish
I enlisted a sister, a brother
and we knelt in the dirt
under the screened window
at what we thought
to be a radish.
Its leaves so new so green
our hands so hesitant so unsure
we reached and pulled—
to our fingers
to the fleshy roots
quivering in the summer sun
we pulled up radish after radish for dinner
handing them, a bouquet, to our mother.
She no longer cares for radishes.
My sister, brother and I tend our own gardens.
But, I wish everyday
to kneel again
under that window
feeling new and green
hesitant and unsure.