Musing and memories

Going down the rows, it's always a matter of life and death. Life, if we're planting. And if we're weeding - well, these weeds must die!

So planting garlic on a beautiful fall day is a matter of life, but also a matter of faith. Like penitents of old, we crawl down the rows in service to our task. Heads down, each clove we gently push into the soft ground is a prayer of hope and survival. For those tiny cloves, planted in October, will barely sprout before the winter freeze arrives. They must hold that faint memory of life through the dark, still season. In spring, when air and soil temperatures conjoin to beckon the sprouts from their cold cradles, tiny green shoots will appear where frozen ground had recently been. By harvest time in July, a field of large lush fronds will wave in the breeze, ready to continue the cycle.

So the garlic does have to "die" in order to be plucked from the growing ground, dried, and head toward our spaghetti sauce. But within each bulb of garlic that we harvest, lies the seeds, or cloves, that we will plant to continue the circle of life. Such is the responsibility and opportunity, curse and blessing, burden and gift for the grower - nose down in the dirt of life and death.

Garlic was the last crop that Ken King planted. Just back from his diagnosis, hopped up on steroids, Ken wanted to get back to work. It was October; the garlic was being planted. Did he know he wouldn't live to see it harvested? Maybe, maybe not. Did it matter to him? Nope, not at all. He was back in the dirt, and that was all that mattered. Planting on faith - life or death, life and death, all one.

Kenny, Billy and Edwin King planting garlic.
 Fall 2016

Ken King planting garlic, Fall 2008


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