Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The green fuse

"There is a higher mystery," wrote D. H. Lawrence, " that doesn't let even the crocus be blown out."

A higher mystery? Or should we call it a lower mystery? A mystery in soil, in water, in air, in sun. A mystery that lies curled up in the seed, a tangled mass of DNA. A mystery that unzips and gathers, unzips and gathers. Spins out proteins. Burgeons. Blossoms.

It's that time of the year again, when the window sill here in my hobbit hole is burgeoning with green -- lettuces, tomatoes, peppers. And -- what's that! What's that in the pot with the pepper plant? Big rough leaves. A squash? A pumpkin? Where did it come from?

I'll transplant it to the garden and see what develops.

Not a higher mystery. A lower mystery. Tiny seeds the size of a grain of salt have become in these few short weeks a curtain of green. The first tomato is tinged with red. The lettuce leaves are fat and lolling. Soon we'll be eating the first harvest.

But I don't grow these plants for food. They are here to remind me that mystery is everywhere. The windowsill is an altar, a Holy of Holies. Here is the gift of transubstantiation: dirt, water, air and sun into succulence. The earth teems and roils. On the window sill that old magician -- life -- has some green silks up his sleeve.