There can be no other occupation like gardening in which, if you were to creep up behind someone at their work, you would find them smiling. ~Mirabel Osler

Shelling peas in the September sun..

Methodically snapping the tip and pulling as far down the pod as I can, just like my Grandma King did. I turn it up-side down and start splitting it down the middle letting the peas fall in the shiny metal bowl in my lap. Just mindfully shelling.

Have you ever smiled when a wind blows by from nowhere. A sweet breeze to partner perfectly with the sunshine on your face. I did yesterday and the day before that and the day before that. Lifted my face, closed my eyes and smiled. It was a simple moment, a few seconds with an afterglow that made me feel like maybe everything will really be all right. The moments come more now, usually in the garden, almost always outside.

I haven’t shelled these peas since I would visit my great-grandmother, who we all called Grandma King, in the summers. My great uncle had a garden a couple blocks down from their small home in Pitts, GA. The first thing I would o when I got there was load up in Uncle Benny’s truck to check on the garden. Thinking back now, I knew he had been down there if not more than once that day, but was waiting to take me down there! I don’t remember much as after King passed, we didn’t visit as much. And when we did the garden had gotten smaller and smaller. I remember right off my older sister and cousin being jealous they didn’t get invited, not that they gave a hoot about Uncle Benny’s vegetables, just that they weren’t going.

We walked the rows looking, touching here and there, pulling off a damaged leaf or pointing out a bumble bee covered in pollen. I remember my favorite thing was to peel back the corn husks to see if the worms had gotten past the vegetable oil trick! When we got back, lunch was served then it was pecan picking time. It seems we were trying to fill a never ending bucket!! But we filled many and they sat on the porch in their 5 gallon glory til after supper when it was shelling time. Peas or pecans, your choice 🙂

Days there were repetitious in the most soothing of ways. You knew what to expect. Meals were served at the same times everyday. And you could count on certain things to always be on the table. Sliced tomatoes at lunch, fried cornbread with supper. I think of how I wish they were still here for me to reach out to, to ask so many questions. To send them pictures of my garden, I know they would be so proud..

Uncle Benny would always send us home with starter plants of tomatoes and peppers, which my mother would normally kill. Along with freezer bags of shelled pecans and my favorite peas. To know now the work it took to fill just one bag. How we took it for granted, not meaning to, of course, but all the same. Those same peas are $4.00 a pound at the Farmer’s market last time I checked. I think I paid $2.99 for a pack of pinkeyes that will take me through a couple growing seasons!

Sometimes I miss them so much, but other times I feel they are right here beside me kneeling in the garden, being part of the very energy that pushes these beautiful, bountiful plants from the soil.Ashes to Ashes means more to me now. Dust to Dust. They are here, just as all energy is everywhere. Never created or destroyed, only transfigured. I know now that I really never lost anyone. I visit them every time I walk in the garden or jog early morning in the woods. Every time I run my fingers through the soil, every time I feel a breeze right when I need it the most, they’re there.

I feel my uncle saying, keep it up, girl, I knew you’d be the one. My sweet great-grandmother sitting beside me shelling peas, just watching life around me. Being content just living simply..


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