Friday, April 22, 2011

This evening's pickings...

Sweet & succulent homegrown tomatoes… I like eating them right off the vine.  It's been a long, cool growing season since we planted vegetables last November and nary a bug or drop of rain. There are different challenges growing organically in the tropics.  Each year we refine what vegetable varieties will work and what is too fussy.  Okra and jamaica and hibiscus are in the same family of plants.  They thrive in the semi-tropics with little care.  The lettuces are going to seed as the weather warms up, but what was planted last is growing in the shade and we'll have another two or three weeks of salads.  After that we'll be getting our greens from sprouts and from our third crop of green beans. As it gets hotter we eat more fruits. Our first mangoes of the year should be ripe in a week. 

That's not all we harvested today.  Wally picked 3 large Jack Fruit and a ream of blue bananas.  You won't find blue bananas in your grocery store.  They are our favorites.  The flesh is nearly white and they have a creamy texture and tangy-sweet flavor.  They are blue-green before they ripen to yellow.

And each day as I wander around the place I can't resist picking a flower or a leaf, a bud or seedpod.  I bring them in where we can enjoy their art-fullness.  I made a shallow elongated vase for holding my little pickings.  It's place on the counter makes us pause, look closer and take in the pleasure of being here. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The season of palms...

One of my favorite Mexican traditions is the celebration of Palm Sunday.  Each year San Blas artisans weave a variety of Christian symbols woven from palm fronds and grasses and sell them in front of the church. Some of the weavings are embellished with glitter and plastic flowers, or sprays of chamomile and rosemary. Beyond the bling the weavings are delicate and beautiful.  People gather to have their palms blessed by the priest's holy water and make a procession into the church singing: "Bendito el que viene en nombre del Senior. Hosanna, hosanna, hosanna!"  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord...

I've been collecting this woven art-of-palms for years. I have some that are 6 years old. They start off green in color and smell and age into a pale gold. I display them against the wall above our bed as an altar to joy and art.  As they collect dust I take them outside and give them a good wave, cleaning them in the wind, mind-full of the cycle of time when they were part of a living palm tree, cut for a short celebration of hosannas and now in my hand, on my wall, a lasting memorial.

I am easily transported into the story described in Matthew of Jesus riding into Jerusalem on an ass, for I live in a land of palm trees and donkeys and sun-baked folks praying for some relief, longing for an extra-ordinary meaning to life.