Saturday, December 22, 2007

~The Mistress of Watermelon by Ann Walters~



Singing wisdom, she works her garden like an aria. Forgetful tunes, tomato forks, the slick white capsule of the cicada grub just emerging – an astronaut gripping the edge of space. Sitting back on her heels, she waits for its accompaniment. The smooth melon in its infancy is a thick green egg veined with hope. She hums a soothing lullaby and swindles the soil with fish oil and pennies, with magic in the form of worship. With hymns and love.

4 comments:

Dragon said...

We used to have quite a problem with giants around these parts. They'd come down from the mountains every spring, lift up the thatched roofs of our cottages, and root around for something to eat, usually a pig or a goat. Giants don't see all that well, though, and every so often they'd would eat babies or small children.

Jack found himself fed up after his favorite sheepdog, Brute, got gobbled one day. He tried all sorts of remedies: long spikes thrusting out from the roof (they were no more than splinters to the giants), painting his hogs with tar (the giants spit them out, but not before crushing them between boulder-size teeth), and even the age-old beanstalk trick (turns out they were ordinary beans after all).

It was years of trial and error, during which nobody's cottage, or livestock, or family was safe, and then one day, Jack hit upon the solution. The giants loved sweets, and Jack had recently begun growing watermelons.

Today, all is copacetic in human-giant relations. It took us some time to work out the particulars. Every spring, the giants make an offering. Usually it's gold, but sometimes it's cows or sweat-equity. Then we plant a certain acreage with watermelons, which they pick at their leisure. It's got to be that way. You can't depend on giants paying you after the fact. That's why we get the money up front.

Cynthia said...

It starts with a seed.

A watermelon. A flower. A baby. An adult. A mind.

Feed and nurture them and they will grow.

Ignore them and they will wither on the vine.

That's life.

Comrade Kevin said...

Grandfather grew watermelons on his land. They were one of the many plants to be found in his beloved, well-tended garden. The patch was situated on the left hand side, catercorned from the long stemmed okra and the fuzzy tomato vines.

"Little girl," he'd boom, "you will need to learn to be patient! Plants don't just spring up overnight."

He was right, of course, but I was impatient and every day after breakfast I'd run out to the patch, half-expecting the watermelons to be full-sized and ready to be picked. Instead, they'd be tiny and undersized. In disappointment, I would shuffle back to the house, still clinging to the hope that tomorrow's watermelons would be large enough to justify picking.

Sharon Hurlbut said...

The Mistress of Watermelon
by Ann Walters

Singing wisdom, she works her garden like an aria. Forgetful tunes, tomato forks, the slick white capsule of the cicada grub just emerging – an astronaut gripping the edge of space. Sitting back on her heels, she waits for its accompaniment. The smooth melon in its infancy is a thick green egg veined with hope. She hums a soothing lullaby and swindles the soil with fish oil and pennies, with magic in the form of worship. With hymns and love.