Love Among the Ruins

A little oasis of green in the rubble

Waiting for spring has been something of a mixed bag this year. On one hand, seeing green again is such a relief. On the other, we have this enormous, huge, great big ugly pile of Irene debris that is not going away any time soon. In my lifetime, for example.

We’ve been down on the land next to the river, carefully exploring Irene’s unwelcome deposits. Seriously, I can’t fit it all in my camera so what you see here is just a smidge of what’s down there.

But still, there’s green in some of the most unexpected places. Take that little patch of bright green wild leeks you can see in the center of this photo, for example.

For those of you unfamiliar with this delicacy, these wonderful plants are in the lily family. They send up a bouquet of leaves in the spring, nearly always the first wonders out of the cold ground in April. Underground, they form bulbs much like a green onion.

The whole plant tastes of onion and garlic. When raw, they are sharp on the tongue. When cooked, they are sweet and savory. Totally yummy.

Pre-Irene, we had wild leeks everywhere on our property. Most of them are covered by three feet of silt now. But here and there, like this open spot amidst the towering debris piles, some of them survived.

The earth does love us. We are her children, after all. This spring, she is teaching me to observe with humility, gratitude and silence as she shows me what strength really looks like.