The day starts foggy and grey. You don’t feel like stopping by the farmer’s market but how about the people selling goodness by the pound, or jar or bagful? They woke up to the same fog, the same heavy sky and they showed up. So you have no excuse.
Buy potatoes from the South American lady. She always smiles. Everything she sells, from eggs to potatoes to pies, has the same roundness as her words. Some accents are that mellow and warm on a day like today. Colorful beans, two-pound bag, too colorful to miss. Fall and earth colors. To eat.
Then parsley, both root and green bushy stalks. You shake hands with unknown gardens when you hold up a bunch. The lady says they’re good, you can make a parsley puff. How? Here’s how, she tells you. You say why not. Change is good. Challenge for little people’s taste buds.
Then the honey table. You have to buy a jar. Good, golden, thick, local. You must. The lady sells jars of golden and fragrant bee’s wax.
There’s someone else there, an elderly gentleman you’ve never met. You know, he says, we were just talking, the bees had it tough this year. The wasps were vicious, attacking bees, killing entire hives. You frown. How unfair. On top of everything else that tangles their invisible dance lines, you think.
It’s like that, the honey lady explains. A somewhat cyclic sorrowful bee event; the wasps sneak in and kill. Won’t waste a drop of golden honey ever, you promise yourself. Such hard work and danger. The bees who made this honey faced peril. They prevailed. Seven dollars a jar.
You buy a basket of tomatoes from the elderly Italian farmer you always buy from. “Last ones, eh…very sweet.” A thick bunch of chard on top, and not enough arms to hold them all. He laughs, you laugh. Like a good grandpa, he helps. He holds a big bag to fit them all in. “There you go, you cook a good dinner, eh?…” He chuckles, you smile. “See you on Saturday!” He’ll be there and you’ll buy tomatoes again, and eggs. They’re always fresh.
The afternoon passes with more grey to chew on, to walk on, to breathe in. You walk with the friend who challenges you to keep your voice above the humming of everyday life, to not give up. Walk under yellow-leaf trees, sit on pink benches, celebrate life once again. “Look, an ice cream sky!” Sunset sky, scoops of kindness. Being alive is never a lesson in grace, but you knew that.
Later, as you cook dinner, you think of the bees. The jar of golden on the counter, all that work… The bees had it tough this year... The wasps go inside the hive through the opening, you remember the lady saying. Hmm, just like words and facts of life you find aggressive and mean. Scary. They find openings, they get in. They hurt thoughts, hopes, they raise fear, trying to kill dreams… Life is full of analogies, you know that. You need boundaries to survive and to thrive. You find them, again.
Because not all the bees have to die, the lady told you today. You make the hive opening smaller, so it’s gets tricky for the wasps. Boundaries…
It’s no small feat, you know that. To set boundaries that is.
You’ll never be infallible but you’ll be better protected. Your thoughts, like bees, in their home of sweetness. Afraid at times, but alive. Daring again tomorrow. And then again. Alive is a gift. Days blossoming into joy, golden and ripe, reminders of past seasons, celebrating today’s bounty and the reality of all that we are: sweetness to taste, hard work, dancing over sunny fields, fear of dying, fear of all that could hurt, courage to go out and do it again. Daring, because of the sky, the fields, the swaying trees and all the rainbows you could never see unless you fly free.
Parsley puff for dinner. The kids have learned to say “not my favorite but I’ll eat some” when dinner has too many shades of green and earthy flavors. Dinner, laughing, some food-bursting-out-of-your-mouth toilet jokes (how rude and necessary!), day falling asleep on the table…
Bedtime soon. Be grateful. You’ve learned a lot today.