As I sit here looking out at the 10 inches of white, fluffy, frozen droplets of water that have completely obscured and blanketed my garden, I long for the warm spring days that will bring my garlic cloves to life. Planted just three months ago, they will peek their green shoots through the golden straw that is sheltering them from these snowy conditions in April. The last of my kale was harvested for Christmas dinner and now even those mighty shoots lay barren and frozen. It saddens me to see the desolation that has replaced the green and red fruits of my labors.
Winter is not my preferred season. I have never been able to advance from the bunny hill skiing and I look ridiculous ice-skating on my backside. It's my love for the sweet smell of earth and the flavor packed taste of vine ripened tomatoes, squash, herbs, swiss chard, peppers and eggplant that makes me most happy. My father's manicured garden has always been my inspiration, and I have been gardening since I owned my very first home. Even though I live on a postage sized city lot, I still manage to incorporate vegetables into the scheme of my backyard decorating. Dad's flawless garden was 20 x 180 feet long and filled with every edible plant imaginable. After he retired, it became his new profession and the bounty of the plants and fruit of his trees filled our two large chest freezers and enormous pantry. This abundant supply of nourishment fed us well until the next harvest.
When I visit Sicily, my taste buds are in sensory overload, for I always make the effort to arrive at harvest time in order to consume the delicacies I cannot grow here. This farmer, Carmelo and his wife, gave me an incredible gift of a case of freshly picked figs from their trees. I can sincerely say that there is nothing like the flavor of Sicilian sun-kissed figs with a slice of prosciutto carefully wrapped around them as a snack. Finding a tree filled with black berries at the peak of ripeness is another delight beyond belief. I'm becoming hungry and long for Sicily as I write these words.
This garden is not far from our family home and I walk by it everyday. It is a fertile piece of property on the river's edge and I was in awe at how manicured the tomato plants were. Jealous actually, but Carmelo is now retired and his time is spent tending the land passed down from his ancestors.
My father passed away a few years ago, so to look upon this man in his fields reminded me of a time when I watched my own father carefully tend to the crops that provided for our family. If my father had not left Sicily he would have been tending to a garden similar to this one.
For now I long for the rite of spring, and the promise of warm days and nights. Plus, some tasty Roma tomatoes, fresh basil, sea salt, drizzled with some extra virgin olive oil!
This copyrighted photograph was taken with a Nikon D800.
Detroit People & Commercial Photographer