At the end of the darkness of winter, I start from infinitesimal seeds the hopes and dreams of a new season. Spring is about optimism, plans and possibilities for a future of glorious beauty meant to nourish our hearts and our bodies.
Dreaming of meals, the simmering soups bubbling on the stove, the roasts in the oven. I am transported by the seasonings growing in my herb garden, warmed by the sun. These meals will nourish those who gather together.
Parsley, chives, cilantro and dill flourish. Varieties of thyme sit comfortably next to rosemary. I can inhale the fragrance of food and family.
Watering can in hand, what happened to all my parsley! It’s gone! All of it! What! It can’t be! My bubble bursts!
Then I saw movement. Lime green, stripes, slithering. A fat caterpillar. And no not one. Many were gorging to devour my dreams quickly.
Enraged I plucked each writhing caterpillar with my gloved fingers & threw with the speed of the playground training practiced in years gone by. I cursed as I hurled each and every destroyer. What a waste of my good intentions. Why my parsley? Why not the other thousands of leaves of greenery in my garden that mean less in the grand plan?
And what was I going to tell Sharon on Thanksgiving? My young new step-daughter who tentatively edged closer to me over time. We bonded over food. We had our own secret ingredients. The vanilla in the pancakes that no one but she and I knew. We whispered gently together.
Now where will she find the parsley when I hand her the small scissors on a cold Thanksgiving morning. To season the stuffing? To garnish the potatoes. To make our perfect family gathering complete. What will we whisper about now that the parsley is gone?
Still seething, I saw later that summer the butterflies fluttering. Dipping in and out around the flowers in my garden. Weaving amongst the petals. The variety of colors, spots and dots that dressed these delicate apparitions.
A gong sounded in my head from the baby books read and reread to the children. My parsley was eaten by some very hungry caterpillars. And they in turn became beautiful butterflies. Swallowtail butterflies in fact.
So now we had new secrets to share, Sharon and I. The mysteries of life, the transformations creatures are capable of and the flexibility we as humans have for reframing our hopes, dreams and expectations.
Our conversations expanded over time, beyond food. We still shared our secret ingredients but they expanded exponentially but remained nourishing.