Thursday, January 30, 2014

Asparagus Dressed in Dew

I was standing at the counter, taking celery out of its bag to put it in a storage box. At some point between taking it in my hand and cutting the tips off, I had a flashback to life at an earlier point in time, a vivid sensory memory of asparagus growing in my daddy's garden and of seeing it in the earlier part of the morning while it was covered in dew.

It has been many years since those memories could have been made, but I remembered with great depth of feeling how beautiful it was, how I loved to get out there early enough to see the asparagus in the morning. How it seemed like an enchanted time and place to be there with it, to know that only now and here could that beauty be encountered. An hour earlier it would have been hidden in darkness. A half hour later it would be gone.

Sort of a funny thing, to come almost out of nowhere like that. Celery is green and long, so I suppose the connection makes some sense. But what is stranger to me is that I haven't seen asparagus growing for over thirty years, I couldn't even remember just what it looked like. Green and delicate were the impressions that came to mind--and feathery, airy. Someting about spider webs. And something like magical.

I remember that when I was growing up in smalltown and rural Arkansas, I would sometimes think, as I helped weed the garden or pick its produce, about what I would grow in my garden when I grew up. I don't think it occurred to me then that I might not even have a garden, or that there were people who didn't. It was just, "What will I have in my garden someday?"

And I knew asparagus would have to be in it. Even though I also knew that Daddy said it never did very well and probably needed sandier soil or a cooler climate, or something like that. I remember thinking that it didn't matter at all to me whether or not the asparagus could be eaten. I wanted to grow it just so I could come in the mornings and see it in the pale light with the dew on it.

As I stood there stringing and chopping the celery that didn't go into the box, I thought these things, and I wondered if I were simply enchanted by the asparagus because of my youth and tendency toward romanticism, or if they would still strike as so beautiful. (Ha, I said "they…." in Italian, as with spaghetti, "asparagi" are plural….I once had a pizza in Sorrento, pizza agli asparagi….)

I wondered, could I possibly find pictures of asparagus with dew on them? Because I certainly have no way to take any such pictures.

I went to the search engine and entered "asparagus with dew"--and would you believe I found pictures. Even a blogpost. You can see it here, and I strongly encourage you to, especially if you have never seen dew on asparagus, or if you have and like me have not seen it again for many years.

Apparently I am not the only one to have marveled at this phenomenon. I'm sure this blogger and I are not alone, either. Anyone who has been out early enough to see it could hardly help noticing how beautiful it is.

Time prevents a long discussion on what beauty is, and how it comes to be that the world is so full of beauty, and that we human beings are cognizant of it, that we remember something for decades simply because it struck us with its beauty. I think these are fascinating things to think about. And important.

But for now I just encourage you to look at the pictures and enjoy the beauty of asparagus in dew.

(And I feel I should add re. the paragraph above, that I did not help my dad nearly as much as I should have in the garden!)


miriam said...

I had to google it. I was thinking of the 'asparagi' we grow, what I am used to seeing and eating and was so pleasantly surprise! Didn't know about the full plant...made me think how recently I showed the children a 'weeping willow' because it was mentioned in a book we read. Long, drooping and sweeping like magical silky threads. I guess I didn't know what you were taling about because I was/am one of those people who didn't grow a garden! I am starting to think of things that bring flashback moments of my growing up. A while ago was biting into these big red globe grapes, and biting into the seeds, and being brought back to the countless seedFULL grapes I grew up with in Italy, so different from the 'seedless' ones I eat all the time now!

Lucy said...

I sort of imagined the pointy shoots rather than the ferns. I get the same kind of pleasure from raindrops on the fennel leaves, but the asparagus have those interesting little beady seeds. You were clearly a very beauty-appreciating child!

Cindy McMillion said...

It really is fascinating how memories can be suddenly triggered after so many years. I loved your description.