It’s life and death for them today



Fingers in brown sandy soil thinning crowded avenues of carrots.  I used to despair thinning these deep tap roots stretching down past undulating worms.  How could one decide carrot life or death?  How could one presume to kill this one or that one?

**The murderer poised her fingers between seedlings, yet another Hitler.**

These days it’s different.  The fingers simply pluck, pull, tug, weed, dance between the overcrowded green carrot fronds.  Something more is glimpsed than the random death march.  You can feel the life march, as well, the relieved sigh when dirt-space reveals itself.  Ahhh!  The remaining tiny carrots snuggle in the expanded space, desiring to puff outward, to grow fat, to marry dirt, to orange up in underground caverns now dredged in breathing room.

I notice how the Universe is always culling, as well as spinning new fronds.  How creating and disappearing always make room for each other.  How death courts life and how life dissolves in it.  How a field of infinite connected energy exists, but how it must continually open its palm and let go, and then continually create something new.

Out to the garden I go, when these typing words cease, in torn shorts and baggy orange “Isle Royale” t-shirt.  Will snuggle in on a faded purple high school football cushion, knees and calves grubby in dirt, fingers moving relentlessly in the carrot kingdom whispering, “It’s all love, it’s all love, it’s all love.”  Or maybe I won’t whisper at all.  The overhead buzz of red-flashing frantic hummingbirds, the drone of cicadias, the sensuous tease of basil, the bulbuous tomatoes heavy of vine, the dancing pattern of sunlight on oak leaves–these reveal the love without words.  I’ll simply bow my head and watch the fingers choose which carrot uproots and which stretches a little more languidly toward sky and earth in this deep August morning.

And into the furnace of the belly will simmer the tiny carrot thinnings tonight, and new life shall be nurtured from death, won’t it?


About Kathy

I live in the middle of the woods in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Next to Lake Superior's cold shores. I love to blog.
This entry was posted in August 2018 and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

35 Responses to It’s life and death for them today

  1. dawnkinster says:

    I used to worry when I thinned rows of radishes, carrots, corn, just the same way you did. It hurt me to pluck something living out of it’s place in the row. Now I don’t have a vegetable garden and I have no problem plucking living weeds out of my perennial bed.

    • Kathy says:

      Glad to hear–I guess!–that another person struggled with the killing of innocent plants that feed us. So interesting, too, that you don’t have challenges weeding your perennials. I don’t either!

  2. Yes, the carrot lives on by nourishing you. In that sense, we all live on by nourishing each other with thoughts, words, deeds. Your post here certainly nourishes me today, Kathy. ❤

    • Kathy says:

      Oh how sweet, Pam. I am having a blast writing lately. Am already concocting another possible blog trying to explain why. We’ll see if that hatches. Love to you, too.

  3. debyemm says:

    It has seemed to me a blessing – without removing the old that is no longer operable, the constant influx of the new would not have any room to be. I’ve often noticed births coming immediately with deaths. I am glad to know that as this body declines, I am not trapped in it eternally. My soul fortunately faces no such decline. Happy Tuesday.

    PS – true story, we buy Organic Carrots with the best looking Greens I can locate, ONLY because our kitchen rabbit LOVES the green fronds (the carrots themselves are like candy and he can’t eat them without digestive disorder) the best of all the good foods he eats (organic Romaine, Radicchio, Italian Parsley and Snow Peas). Yes, he is one lucky bunny !! And beloved.

    • Kathy says:

      Your words sound beautiful to me this afternoon, Deb. Even though if the deaths are loved ones it can be so painful. And maybe the decline of our bodies as well. I smiled ear-to-ear thinking of your rabbit nibbling on carrot fronds. But then paused a long time to think that even bunnies can get digestive ailments. Imagine that!

  4. Mary Lou Knapke says:

    Thank you

    Mary Lou,
    here in the boat with you! Does anyone see shore?
    (I think my dog and cat in their own dingy might know where we are going.)

    Do you think if we all lean toward goodness we can tilt the world?
    They say butterfly wings can….??!?
    “….:if you loved something, say it.”
    -Jane Mayhall, poet
    “We men and women are all in the same boat, upon a stormy sea. We owe to each other a terrible and tragic loyalty.”
    – G. K. Chesterton


    Sent from my iPhone

    • Kathy says:

      Mary Lou, as always, thank you so much. And thanks for the link for the cabbage recipe that you emailed. Lemony cabbage with carrots sounds delicious!

  5. John Kuttenberg says:

    Hitler … the furnace of the belly. My oh my there are some dark corners in that mind of yours.

    • Kathy says:

      Don’t we all, John? lol. I have always been a hunter in the woods of the psyche, trying to flush out wild darkness so the light can better illuminate them.

  6. This is beautifully written, Kathy! A perfect message for a warm August day!

    • Kathy says:

      Awww, thanks, Cindy. It felt so marvelous to sit down and write this morning before joining the carrots in benediction. Hope you’re staying cool. The fan is whirring here this afternoon.

  7. Robin says:

    Beautiful carrots, and a beautifully written post. Wonderful mantra (“it’s all love, it’s all love…”). I still have a difficult time thinning out the vegetables even though I know it’s best for them and that nothing will go to waste. I shall think of your post (culling and spinning) the next time I’m out in the garden. Maybe I’ll borrow your mantra and whisper to the plants. 🙂

    • Kathy says:

      Robin, I am imagining you doing so just now. You’re feeling a slight breeze perhaps, and your fingernails gather dirt, and thunder rumbles in the distance. Perhaps you can smell the sea. The culling and spinning goes on…as does the love that underpines (that may not be a word as spellcheck is suspicious) the whole. xoxoxo

  8. Kathy you do have a way of producing a story from every day life and I love these stories. The carrots look very edible and of so nutritious. I too, have a problem thinning vegetables. In my case it was golden zucchini and straight eight cucumbers. But I have learned a little too late that I have not done these favorites any favor by living them too thick, The vines do not produce as well so next year I will weed as directedd.

    • Kathy says:

      Yes, Yvonne, you are so right–we’re really not doing any favor to the vegetables as they won’t produce. They need space as much as we do. By the way, I read this to Barry this morning–a dramatic reading– during coffee/tea time and he is not really a poetic writer. We started laughing about the way things were phrased for about five minutes. He liked it but could never imagine telling a story this way. I am still smiling.

  9. Barb says:

    I see that where I spread perennial seed last fall suddenly lots of green is appearing. It’s too late in the season for any blooming – the sprouts are barely out of the dirt. I’m not going to cull – maybe wait to see if survival of the fittest happens on its own next spring. Change in the garden – and all around us (and inside us, too).

    • Kathy says:

      OK, Barb, had not even thought of the survival of the fittest concept yet. Although am so often thinking of change. The evolution in the garden…what shall hearty its way into existence and what die away unto dirt? I notice with the carrots that certain ones grow strong and tall, while others remain a wisp and promise. I do try to honor the hearty ones, tenderly pulling away the wisps that failed to thrive.

  10. tthomp75 says:

    As I read your enlightening post, Kathy, I so reminisced of my garden days back home in Michigan. Not one thing was wasted in our “huge” garden. The beauty of the pantry, after it all was canned. The healthiness of eating what you knew wasn’t poisoned with chemicals.. Great Blog~

    • Kathy says:

      I’ll bet you had a gorgeous garden, Tammy. Those Thumb gardens can be amazing (so much more so than our puny woods garden). Your comment reminded me of my grandparents putting so much away in cans to fill deep winter soups and stews. Pickles, relishes, sweet fruit! And, the best, no chemicals. Thank you so much!

  11. sherrysescape says:


    • Kathy says:

      Sherry, I am so in love with the spinning poetry of words as they create fabric out of thin air. Especially if the poetry squarely marries what is real, actual, true, felt. The marriage of fanciful sky and downright dirty soil.

  12. Love and gratitude. I find myself saying ‘thank you’ to anything that feeds me. What a beautiful post. I felt like I was right there with you. To you I send love and gratitude.

    • Kathy says:

      Sherrie, thank YOU so much. See, now you’re feeding me like I fed you like the carrots feed us. Glad you were able to take your precious time to sit and percolate and digest with the words attempting to paint a vivid picture of a few moments in an ordinary day. xoxoxo

  13. Thoughtful analogy on life and death. The Universe chooses through us, sometimes, or maybe all the time? I wonder.

    A lovely post to ponder.

  14. Lori says:

    We did it again, Kathy. We wrote a blog on a similar subject around the same time. I love your poetic words here. 🙂

  15. sybil says:

    I cannot wrap my head around Hitler’s name and thinning carrots…

    • Kathy says:

      I often laugh out loud at your comments, Sybil. If all the Universe is within us–as the holy ones say–I think it’s enlightening to try to find one’s inner Hitler, one’s inner Stalin, one’s inner Trump, one’s inner worst enemy. Not saying it’s fun. Just saying it’s possible to learn a LOT. Hugs today!

  16. Elisa says:

    OOOO friend Kathy! I am so full of OOOOOOOOOOO and someone in the background is quivering in fear, and another shouting NOW look what you did hands on hips.

    I notice how the Universe is always culling, as well as spinning new fronds. How creating and disappearing always make room for each other. How death courts life and how life dissolves in it. How a field of infinite connected energy exists, but how it must continually open its palm and let go, and then continually create something new. and and and…. And into the furnace of the belly will simmer the tiny carrot thinnings tonight, and new life shall be nurtured from death, won’t it? THIS!

    Life as it is just well just and then a new batch of constant fear and hypervigilance with none of the lovely places to breathe and move to resilience (sp?) I noted this week I keep holding up or pointing at each carrot trying to tell the story, I thought that would help me. And underneath it an ah ha! that said Fix! I want to fix these things, and i have failed at that.
    It was suggested I find out what fix means, to me and in the dictionary sense. And, that I investigate the idea of fix in comparison to an awareness process. (of course some of us shouted G D it!!! I am GOING to fix it if this is the last thing i DO! how DARE you tell me some pansy arse fru fru thing to do to gloss over not getting it done, resolved once and for all!)

    the person calmly suggested that I might want to recall a framework for this that has worked well for me for years for other things, how that is a process on a daily basis, and i dug in my heels and shouted OH NO and clapped a hand over my treasonous truth spewing mouth!
    Your words up there though..
    always culling and spinning new fronds… and all the other lovely words whispered to me so that I could see and remember. Maybe only in this one moment, for Now that is enough. Letting go of an old idea still freaks me out (sigh) into the furnace of the belly, new life shall be nurtured from death! That seems like a Promise and while often not fun in the getting there, is always present.


    • Kathy says:

      Elisa, I smiled when reading this. So relate to the many different parts of ourselves with all their opinions and ideas (which may be contradictory). There are parts that want to fix and parts that don’t. Parts that want to cull and spin. To pull and let be. You are soooo right about it not always being fun “getting there”…but right now a thought popped up: where are we trying to get? Somewhere away from what’s arising in this new moment, either the weeding or the watering or the eating? 🙂

Thank you for reading. May you be blessed in your life...may you find joy in the simple things...

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