I was just outside in the garden picking cherry tomatoes for salsa and picking up windfall apples in the orchard when a poem came to mind. I couldn’t remember the title, nor the name of the poet…just a couple of lines buried in the body of the poem.
I had to find it. (I did) It made me think about my relationship with my dad.
I know what triggered it.
Today several of us got together to celebrate my mom and dad’s 60th wedding anniversary. I would occasionally glance over at mom and dad at the end of the table and think…I wonder just how many more anniversaries we will be able to celebrate with the two of them.
Here’s the poem…
Eating Alone by Li-Young Lee
I’ve pulled the last of the year’s young onions. The garden is now bare. The ground is cold, brown and old. What is left of the day flames in the maples at the corner of my eye. I turn, a cardinal vanishes. By the cellar door, I wash the onions, then drink from the icy metal spigot.
Once, years back, I walked beside my father among the windfall pears. I can’t recall our words. We may have strolled in silence. But I still see him bend that way- left hand braced on knee, creaky-to lift and hold to my eye a rotten pear. In it, a hornet spun crazily, glazed in slow, glistening juice.
It was my father I saw this morning waving to me from the trees. I almost waved to him, until I came close enough to see the shovel, leaning where I had left it, in the flickering deep green shade.
White rice steaming, almost done. Sweet green peas friend in onions. Shrimp braised in sesame oil and garlic. And my own loneliness. What more could I, a young man, want.
View of our orchard and Libby the Great