Monday, July 22, 2013

Everything has its season

[Originally posted November 30, 2009] I recently had a Facebook discussion about pumpkin pie. I love it so much I started eating it nearly a week before Thanksgiving, which led to the confession that I really want to eat it when pumpkins are first harvested, which led to others saying, forget that, pumpkin pie is soooo scrumpch that we should eat it year round.

I was reminded of this discussion when I was out in the garden during the Thanksgiving weekend and bid adieu to the tied-up thick hairy masses of Siberian iris fronds, the dry stalks of echinacea, the browning feathers of coreopsis foliage. And there amidst the dark quiet garden were the late-blooming kaffir lily, their watermelon-candy-colored blooms almost a shock. Three white Shasta daisies held their blossoms high, the scabiosa, or pincushion flower, were sending out mighty stalks, and a few lavender stems were bright against the long-ago spent ones.

Despite the fact that I seem to be in some crazy kind of love with every blossom, stalk, shrub, berry, and leaf I cultivate, I still love the turning of the wheel and wouldn't want the daylilies blooming in October or the dahlias blasting in March. Just as I know, deep down, pumpkin pie seems right only in late November and fresh strawberries in June and July. I think it's partly the anticipation, and then, the amazing re-awakening: the sweetest burst of a flavor nearly forgotten because it's been a whole year. What could possibly be so special about nectarines at the end of the summer if you can eat them in January? How ordinary pumpkin pie would be if you ate it any time of year. Can you possibly eat a peppermint stick in the summer? For me, peppermint means December and not even a mint from a restaurant tastes right unless it's winter.

If someone did offer me pumpkin pie in April, I probably wouldn't refuse a bite, but I would be transported to dark late autumn days and a time set aside for giving thanks...thanks, too, for those last bursts of garden surprises, seemingly slightly out of season. They'll be gone soon enough and already I am wondering which crocuses will be the first to bloom.