I have been reading Michael Pollan's In Defense of Food and Wendell Berry's What are People For?. Pollan's mantra is "Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants."
This, combined with Berry's admonitions to appreciate the fruit of the land that is beneath our feet and to be a part of caring for the "varied and versatile countryside, fragile in its composition[...]," has primed me for summer in Vama.
If not hay and potato fields, every household has at least a garden with onions, garlic, dill, lettuce, beans, beets and strawberries.
Mamaitza, my "grandmother" is out in her garden every morning, weeding this, taking a look at that. She has done this since she got married as has her daughter-in-law, as does the next neighbor down the road and the next.
Mamaitza and I weeded the onions and garlic on Tuesday morning, leaving clean dirt valleys between the plants. Later I picked strawberries at Silvia's. We ate some of the strawberries with polenta and cream, and cleaned the remaining strawberries to make jam.
Whenever I want lettuce, I walk the 20 meters to Mamaitza's garden and pick some a few lettuce leaves.
My Chemistry teacher neighbor has bunches of red, crunchy radishes in her kitchen for snack time.
Summer gives even without cultivation.
The air at the stadium where I run smells of fresh hay from the recently made haystacks on the end of the field and the woodland strawberries are almost ripe in the forest behind my house.
Last year, Milica, Mamaitza's son, taught me how to search for mushrooms and distinguish the edible ones from the "nebuni" (crazy) ones. While the forest floor is littered with mushrooms, many are nebun, especially the red and white ones that look like mario brother mushrooms. The prize mushroom is Hribi and they are notorious for being difficult to find. Last year, I found one hrib, and it was old and yellowing. But this summer, I am finding hribi. Fresh, brown capped hribi. A lot of hribi:

Many people in Vama ask me if I am not bored now that school is out.
In his discussion on work and the inherent pleasures that are coupled with "drudgerous" work on farmland, Wendell Berry writes that while doing this work,"One does not miss or regret the past, or fear or long for the future. Being there is simply all, and is enough."

1 comment:

Mark said...

I sent you that book like two yeas ago, are you finally reading it now? Also, you never showed me the stadium where you run at.