Today is the last pickup at our CSA's drop-off point. Last week we got quite a bit more than I bargained for; who expects eggplant in November?
I love going out there; the road bends around, and the left is indicated only by a handmade wooden sign tacked onto a tree. Down the narrow rutted lane in the woods and suddenly the sky opens up like a bowl overhead. All the plants are laid out in straight rows; no one hurries. Calm like nowhere else.
I miss the garden we had 15 years ago; that was one big patch behind the sagging shed. It was the last place to find snow in the spring. It's where L led my mother down along the rows, naming each vegetable: "lets" "bits" "bokli" "'mato"
We canned a lot from that garden, my mother and I. She taught me how to lay everything out, sterilize the jars, tops, and tongs. How to boil up the pickles and the jam. The kitchen was big enough to push the table across the room, next to the dormant woodstove so we had room to move when the pressure was on, when the pickles had cooked just enough and it was time to fill the jars, just to the right level.
My mother would have preferred we had stayed in that house, instead of moving so far away. I found a canning jar top with her handwriting: pickles, august 1988. I put it away in an envelope, just to look at.