Thistles, Hemp, Coreopsis

Rain moves in; the heat moves out. I get up from my desk and put on a long-sleeved shirt. My older daughter and I — just the two of us — make pesto and spread it over a pizza with broccoli she slices. She looks at the pizza before she bakes it and says, Garden pizza.

Swimming holds no appeal. Instead, in the evening, we walk up a long dirt road heading out of Hardwick. I follow her into an overgrown pasture. She hands me her phone and has me photograph her in a field of Scottish thistles. She wades shoulder-deep into the prickles and purple flowers, and the memory of traipsing through forests and meadows behind her as a girl child returns to me. Those summers she and her best friends were obsessed with false hellebore as an ingredient for soup-making in her outdoor kitchen. Don’t mind the snails, she tells me. Let’s keep going.

As here’s a few lines from Wendell Berry’s The Hidden Wound I kept thinking about, as I drove to Middlebury on back roads, wondering if all these new fields of hemp might positively help to reshape Vermont’s economy….

A true and appropriate answer to our race problem, as to many others, would be a restoration of our communities—it being understood that a community, properly speaking, cannot exclude or mistreat any of its members. This is what we forgot during slavery and the industrialization that followed, and have never remembered. A proper community, we should remember also, is a commonwealth: a place, a resource, and an economy.


Cultivated and wild in my garden. Photo by Molly S.

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