Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Ordinary Miracles

Hemerocallis (Day Lily) root
In the Fall, I dug them all out to make room for the herbaceous peonies: nearly 200 hemerocallis. It was a weekend's work to unearth them, split them, knock off the dirt, dry them and pack them in brown paper. I hid them as best I could in my garden shed from the gnawing mice, hoping they wouldn't freeze out there in winter, hoping they wouldn't rot. 

On Saturday I spent the afternoon digging a new bed, peeling back sod and weeds to expose sandy soil that needed mulch and manure to make it just okay. Then I held my breath and dared to look in the shed. They emerged from the brown paper wrinkled as mummies having consumed their tuberous roots as sustenance these many months. And a miracle: a ghostly sprout is there. 

Plants don't bother with hope or fear. They just do, surviving until there's nothing left to live on. Now tucked safely in my newly dug bed, they will fatten on water and manure. They'll go on as if nothing had happened, ordinary miracles.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Her Old Pots and Pans

We had only come for the headboards, two depression-era wooden slabs, simply-made and painted butter-yellow with real linkia starfish glued to the corners. Advertised for $70, when we got to Fishes and Loaves thrift store in Beaufort, NC by a miracle they were now $50. 

Then I saw a box of 6 vintage Revere Ware pots and pans, all lids present and accounted for, jumbled into a worn cardboard box. The black marker letters read "$35. Firm." 

"Okay," I said, "I'll take them. But I don't want the Farber Ware pot. I'll pay the same."

"You don't want the BIG pot?" said the fisher-wife turned thrift store keeper, her rugged, salt-creased Down East face showing concern. "Then it's $20." We paid $30. 

When I got them home, I started polishing and cleaning, massaging the copper bottoms with liquid metal cleaner. The small pots were dirtier, harder used. By the time the women are old, they are cooking for one and they only use the smallest pots. I thought about the owner of these pots and pans, now mine for a song because their owner is gone. I thought of my own mother and her own prized Revere Ware.

I scrubbed hard to make the copper and steel shine like new.