Sunday, July 21, 2013

Bela Terra: Gifts from the Earth

zucchini and other delicious things from our garden

A while ago, I asked the question: what is the link between the ancestors and the earth?

There is the obvious: most of us bury our dead in the earth. Even in coffins, their essence can leak out into the earth. In fact, the history of death, burials, cemeteries around the world is a lesson in the creation of sanitation laws, health guidelines, and corporate development for the living and the dead.

Recently I heard something very interesting: so many unfulfilled dreams are in cemeteries, buried with the dead. So, there is also the not so obvious: the energy that emanates from the ancestors - their dreams, desires, and wants, unfulfilled or satisfied - is the energy we walk on and in every day. It comes up through our feet, which represent our paths in life. We are, therefore, never separate from our dead or they from us.

If you have ever visited Arlington Cemetery, you know what I am talking about. One must walk over the dead to get to the dead. It is humbling, frightening, overwhelming, sacred, and profane all at the same time. When I have visited there, I want to run so as not to linger so long in one place. Yet, I want to walk slowly to not disturb, to honor, to read the headstones. I want to listen to what is being whispered through the dirt and grass, the trees.

Brings a different understanding of why it behooves us to care for our living elderly, care for the ancestors, and care for the dead and their spaces. Gives a different understanding to why we must live fully and not die after a half-lived or un-lived life, and why we must not leave our dead behind. This last is another discussion that would bring us to the current violences all over the world.

I think of these things often, and especially during the spring and summer. During the first season we plant. The second season we reap. And, our reaping from our personal home garden has been glorious this year so far: collard greens, kale, chard, lettuce, herbs, tomatoes, onions, garlic. Corn and cucumbers to arrive soon.

And the yellow zucchini. It was the yellow zucchini that made me write this post. A few days ago, we removed the first and only one so far from its vine. One day we steamed half, a few days later, we roasted the other half along with some chicken wings. (Sorry: Only after we had eaten did I think I should have taken a picture).

All I can tell you is that when I bit into a chunk, down to the skin, my first thought was that I was so grateful for the man whose gift of honoring the ancestors through the land had produced this singular and beautiful feast. I thanked the ancestors. And, then I wondered at its sweetness, so unexpected. It was startlingly vibrant just like its flower. Until last year, I had never seen a zucchini flower, did not know it had one on a vine. But, the flower in half or full bloom is so worth observing.

What ancestral energy is flowing through the land where we are? The history here makes me shudder when I think about it. Yet, the ability to connect to that energy, shift its vibrational force, and harvest abundance and gratitude instead of scarcity and fear each time is a gift that cannot be seen outside the cycle of life that includes the ancestors.

There is so much more to think about as the summer continues. What will I discover with each new collard leaf, or rosemary stem? What will I discover with each yellow tomato or the cucumbers? I am waiting for the cucumbers. Two are hanging, almost ready to be welcomed to the table.

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