Sunday June 22nd, 2014

The exercise:

Write about: the gathering.

Spent this morning hanging out with Max, mostly in town. Saw lots of people and puppies, so that kept him quite entertained.

This afternoon was spent preparing for the potluck dinner we hosted on our deck tonight. We joined a locavore group shortly after it formed last summer that meets once a month at member's homes while local food is in season. Everyone brings a dish that contains as much local produce as possible and we spend an evening hanging out, usually with at least half a dozen kids in tow.

Tonight Kat prepared an arugula and strawberry salad for dinner, and chocolate covered cherries for dessert. The chocolate was obviously not local, but I'm pretty sure everyone forgave her that one pretty easily.

Other dishes included pulled pork from a family that raises their own pigs, Greek salads, and a rhubarb pie. We invited Maja and Genevieve to join us and they seemed to enjoy themselves, even contributing a hummus that was made from beans that Kat's mom grew last summer.


The air is crowded, full of friendly words bouncing off one another, while others entangle and form new meanings. No apologies required, no feelings are bruised, no one is bothered.

Fragrant, flavourful food is abundant, shared and enjoyed with pride and enthusiasm. By the parents, at least. The children are busy climbing trees and playing games that appear to involve a lot of running and screaming.

A sunshine warmed deck underfoot, blue skies overhead. Views of the orchard, vineyard, hills. Happy faces in all directions.

Summer has truly begun.


Greg said...

That sounds like a really pleasant evening! And the food sounds delicious; I definitely like the sound of rhubarb pie and all that fruit! Oh, and pulled pork too, but that goes without saying, doesn't it? As for chocolate at a locavore event... well, many dishes require salt and/or sugar, and neither of those are often grown locally, so I think a little bit of chocolate falls into the same category :)

The gathering
The road is beyond the trees and up a slight embankment, and the women are careful to never use the embankment to get to the road. The column of refugees stretches along the road still, a thin, straggling line of people walking further than they expected to in their entire lifetime. Most put one foot in front of another mechanically, bodies aching and minds numbed by the never-ending march. Once they hoped that there would be somewhere to stop, someone to smile at them, and maybe a little help. Now there is... nothing.
The women gather mushrooms where they grow. Most grow under trees, or on the trunks, and a few grow out in the grass in fairy rings. You pick your own mushrooms and you pay careful attention. You can't afford to leave a good mushroom behind, but no-one will tell you if you pick a bad one. One family less to feed is no longer a tragedy, it's simple accountancy.
Overhead, the clouds draw in, grey and dark with the promise of rain. This can only bring up more mushrooms, but it's still hard to rejoice.

Marc said...

Greg - yeah, I think chocolate, citrus-y things, sugar, and salt are all given a pass at these gatherings. People generally do their best otherwise, and the results show!

That's a splendidly dark piece you've written here. Some excellent details, with the bit about the mushrooms standing out in particular for me.