Garlic, Ground

Tilled soil feels soft and welcoming when you push a clove of garlic deep into it. But after two and a half hours and 1000 row-feet at a clove every 8 inches, soft dirt means worn down and sore fingertips. At least, it does if you don’t work in it every day. I don’t, but yesterday I helped Dennis of Blue Dog Family Farm plant his yearly garlic crop, and once I’d washed the dirt out of the creases of my fingers, I realized just how many creases there are. Even as I type this today, I can feel the abrasions of worn skin rubbing against smooth plastic. It’s a small reminder of how much my food depends on others’ bodies and the wear and tear they take. But as for myself, I’m not complaining. It was much needed sun-and-dirt therapy at a time when it’s hard to feel like we’re part of a world that’s growing and thriving. Knowing that each clove will bring forth six more next year balances just a little that growing pessimism. Alliums for all!

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