I’m guessing you’re seeing a picture of peppers. But your eyes are partly wrong. You have to look into the empty spaces. The blank spots. Then you can see what these really are.
These came from my garden. I tilled the garden. I shoveled manure into the bed. I smelled like cow shit for 2 days. My Girl Wonder helped me put the seeds in the ground. I watered. I weeded. I whispered encouraging words and had long Sunday morning talks with these red skinned lovelies.
The sun through the kitchen window has dried them. My 2 hands will grind them up. Pound. Twist. Pound. Twist. Spooned into a jar for the winter months, when my tongue needs the taste of something with vibrant heat and the thick yellow of sunshine.
Do not be fooled. These aren’t your regular peppers. No sirree Bob.
There is power in these peppers. They hold a story. Of sweaty days and blistered hands. Of rainy afternoons and lusty plants drinking from their rooted homes. These peppers are the edible conclusion of a garden tale. They speak my part in the story.
We all need our hands in the dirt once in a while. We need to feel the power of the pepper. We need to connect. Soil to skin. It grounds us. It makes us mindful of how our food grows up and out and into our bellies.
Little hands need to learn that dirty work is good work. It’s work that feeds us. On dinner plates and with wheelbarrow loads of vegetable zen.
It counts for something – knowing your food. Intimately. Whether it’s a solo plant on a sunny patio corner or a buffet of garden beds in the backyard. We need a place to tend.
When we lose the power of the pepper, that gift of nurturing from small to grown, we lose our place . The power of the pepper keeps us small. It holds us fast to to what matters in a world gone artificial.
It reminds us that things start and end. And that the time in between is to be savored.
There’s a church like fever in a bed of peppers. Prayers rooted. Amens risen. God. Universe. In chlorophyll choirs. It’s all there. These peppers pack a philosophical punch.
To grow something is to nurture. To nurture is to care. To care is to think before we reach with our hands, chomp with our mouths, or tread with giant sized feet.
Go forth and get your pepper on!