It’s harvest season, and this year plums top the list of luscious edibles. These don’t yet grow in our backyard garden though we planted an Italian Plum tree two years back. Which reminds me to share another sort of offering which has taken years to find its flourish: You Can Call It Beautiful, a collection of poetry, debuted September 1—thanks to MoonPath Press.
Plus–we’ve enjoyed three varieties of cucumber from our backyard garden: Lemon cukes fresh like an apple and pickled with basil, and the Asian cukes are delicious in tzatziki and perfect for raita. Holding this poetry book and reading to friends in late summer, felt almost as joyful and nourishing as those cucurbits.
Like tomato and kale, zucchini and chard, these poems have grown from seed. Some happened spontaneously—without forethought or shopping first. No trek to the nursery for starts or special nutrients to feed the soil. But most grew after huge dedication to the dig. All required care and water—tender and wanting to grow into their own life.
Just last weekend, pounds of plums arrived on our front porch from a neighbor. The next bounty came from across town. She lives in Kailash Ecovillage. These acres grow apples, figs, and pears, too. Residents tend rows of vegetables they eat and sometimes sell at the market. They’ve built a tall tree house in one corner of the land, big enough to host a party. The place is amazing in urban southeast Portland. Surprises everywhere!
Another lover of good food has been sharing her joy of simmering plums into a sauce she and her husband enjoy through the winter. So, I tried it. I’m sold! It’s one of my new faves—and a terrific topper for tapioca pudding which reminds me of my grandma. It will adorn my steel cut oats as mornings grow cold. On vanilla bean ice cream, we’ll share with guests in the evening.
You Can Call It Beautiful became title of this poetry collection because so much of life can scare and scar. Trauma and tragedy, bangs, barrages, and debt can pull our attention so far from today: We forget the gift of simply breathing alive. We lose our way. We fail to connect with each other or first with ourselves. Yet those kinships can feed and sustain us.
For me, these poems, these words, the plums, cukes, and all of the dear people who share moments in person or through poetry, their recipes, song, art on the walls, the cashier at Natural Grocers–and Brent who fixed my bumper back onto my car in Port Townsend so I could drive home safely down I-5–divine life. There will always be pain and burnt berries, and still, You Can Call It beautiful.Life is wonder. It’s all so temporary. We don’t know how many more seasons we must wait to harvest the plum tree or how many more months we’ll be able to enjoy bread baked fresh for our nibbles.
How many more pots of Stockholm Lentils will I simmer for friends. Will I always be able to add that can of coconut milk and find cilantro and limes at the store down the block? How about those legumes and brown rice I take as a given?
Together we chop the greens and toss the salad, then sit to feast.
We first pause to hold hands warm.
Thank you for your visit.
If you’d like to purchase, You Can Call It Beautiful by Debra Elisa, it is available at Bookshop.com, Amazon, Barnes and Nobles and some local bookshops.