Tuesday, June 13, 2006


As an intrepid gardener I've always been sharply aware of the vast and constant hunger that is out there in the world, all the mouths there are to help feed with my feeble husbandry, mouths that will be fed whether I like it or not, and I usually don't. But when I went out to the garden just now to get some lettuce for my lunchtime salad, I couldn't help but be pleased at how much the little black and big green caterpillars love my mizuna and how rapidly they have manifested that love, to say nothing of their fattening delight that I was so kind as to plant such a delectable vegetable on their behalf. Like a tableful of hungry children, their gratitude was pretty nearly audible. I think if I could have safely held my ear right down there I would have heard the heartfelt crunch of larval joy. My mizuna must truly have been of the highest quality. Plus it was organic, which caterpillars appreciate.

I wasn't able to taste it for myself, though, since the colorful little gourmets, having instantly polished off the arugula (because I took all the radishes) scarfed every bit of the mizuna green parts in just the last day or two, leaving only the pale, naked leaf stalks sticking up in bunches like bleached punk hairspikes tipped with beads of big fat green and little fat black caterpillars, still hanging on to get the last little motes and quivering visibly at the prospect of crisp new lettuce just a short crawl away.

It wasn't very polite of me to act like a big fat caterpillar, but I took all the lettuce I wanted and ate it as though someone else had grown it for me.

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