The High Mowing Organic Seeds catalog arrived in our mailbox today, glossy and gorgeous enough to lay on the table and immediately fantasize about that field of peppers. Seeds and agriculture, longing for soil and growth: some of the oldest of humanity’s longings.
I slid a pan of enchiladas in the oven. My older daughter, drawing at the table, lifted her head and told me about the conversation in her French class today. The windows over her shoulders are filled with darkness before dinner, at this time of year. Our conversation unspooled, winding along a thread of history, tangled centuries.
Sometimes I think of my own youth as terribly misspent, all those years in philosophy class, all that writing and reading: all that pondering on faith and love and destiny. What did it all come to? But today, listening to my daughter, my hands on that catalog, I thought of my youth as sown with an infinite complexity of minute seeds. I reminded my daughter of Martin Luther King’s line that The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice. Small mortals that we are, dwarfed beneath the cosmic arc, our vision of the universe is often myopic and clouded, imperfect at best.
My daughter brushed her hair, wrapped a silky scarf around her neck, zipped up her high heels, and left to babysit the neighbors’ babies. That seed catalog in my hand, I kissed her before she left.
Travellers from the great spaces
when you see a girl
twisting in sumptuous hands
the black vastness of her hair
and when moreover
near a dark baker’s
a horse lying near death
by these signs you will know
that you have come among men.
— Jean Follain (1903-1971)