The colour of life

January 21, 2013

After three blog entries about scorched earth and the lingering taste of death on land and air following the massive fires of recent weeks, I now want to write about life. More specifically, the colour of life as exemplified by green. For without the photosynthetic capability of the molecule chlorphyll — a magnesium containing pigment in green plants — to use the sun’s energy to convert water and atmospheric carbon dioxide into life sustaining organic compounds plus nearly all the oxygen in the atmosphere, you and I would not be alive.


Ironically, the above photo of tender green budding stalks of water melon flowers reaching towards the heat of light, does show the important role our the big fire-ball star, the sun, plays in creating life. However, like Icarus, being exposed to too much heat for too long a period will melt away any chance of growing full into life.


I consider Windgrove a “refuge for learning”. For guests and visitors certainly, but mostly for me. The newly constructed enclosed garden represents 20 years of dealing with the “how’s and how not to’s” of growing vegetables on this land.

It is a private paradise, a walled garden within which the colour green is allowed to flourish and where I can find refuge away from the intensity of every summer’s lack of rain; an intensity that turns the ground a burnt amber.


Inside I sit with the melons and cucumbers, tomatoes and potatoes, corn and basil, squash and peas. Surrounded by all this lush greenness I can’t help but feel alive. I can’t help but yearn to move towards the fiery heat of the day.


The Danger of Wisdom

We learn to live without passion.
To be reasonable. We go hungry
amid the giant granaries
this world is. We store up plenty
for when we are old and mild.
It is our strength that deprives us.
Like Keats listening to his doctor
who said the best thing for
tuberculosis was to eat only one
slice of bread and a fragment
of fish each day. Keats starved
himself to death because he yearned
so desperately to feast on Fanny Brawne.
Emerson and his wife decided to make
love sparingly in order to accumulate
his passion. We are taught to be
moderate. To live intelligently.

Jack Gilbert

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Martha January 24, 2013 at 1:48 am

Peter – Your beautiful lush garden gives me hope that warmer temperatures will return in a few months. In the meantime I’m hoping for 20 degrees (F) today.

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