Monday, August 07, 2006


We took a walk through the early north coast fog Sunday morning. There is a certain quiet that accompanies the fog, along with the cool sense of saltwater that envelops your senses. Things that are close appear far away and mysteriously indistinct, muffled and wrapped away, as if by a creeping web; while the spider webs themselves stand out, the gauzy air their defining backdrop. We love this kind of foggy walk. Our lungs draw in the sea-laden air, remembering something familiar billions of years old.
As we walk along quietly, we sometimes speak, saying things like, "let's harvest the beets this afternoon." or, "I think we should try to grow blueberries next year." It is a kind of zen conversation, an abbreviation of work and expectation, but is not a koan.
After the walk, we shopped, came home, had lunch, and went out into the greenhouse to harvest the oldest beets. We decided that we should harvest the greens first, blanch and freeze them. Roger grabbed the pruning shears for the job, I grabbed this*, a pair of Zyliss Multi-Purpose Shears that I had bought specifically for cutting food rather than pruning inedibles. We went to the greenhouse and began working along steadily. I gave him the big blue harvest bowl for the greens so he wouldn't have to get up and walk to my side of the garden bed. His back has been bothering him for weeks, and I could much more easily get up and bring the greens over to his side.

There is a precise moment in life when you realize that you have used something very, very sharp to cut your own skin. It's a sensation that brings you into your own body almost faster than anything else. There are some pleasures that work almost as quickly, but pain and fear mingled do an amazing job of focusing attention in an instant. I had grabbed the beautiful deep red stems of a beet for cutting. I was talking to Roger about whether we should also be pulling the beets at the moment and leaving them on top of the soil while we harvested the greens. I cut those stems and knew immediately that I had also deeply cut the tip of my middle finger on my left hand. Pain. I was up and out of the greenhouse running toward the house as fast as I could run. At first all Roger heard was my gasp. He thought I had been stung by one of the many wasps that live in the greenhouse. But I shouted as I left the building, "I just cut myself...bad."

He followed me into the house, took a good look at the wound, and said that it was a semi-serious cut. We both felt though that we could manage it here at home. So, with a lot of pressure, ice, and disastrously goofy talk, we put on a waterproof bandage, and an extra bandaid for additional pressure. The finger throbbed like hell for about an hour, but then quieted down.

After a while we laughed especially good and hard when we realized that I had cut myself with scissors, and I hadn't even been running. Really, I hate to hurt myself. It reminds me of how easily a momentary slip of attention can result in terrible injury. But, I'm glad to be your object lesson. Please be careful with sharp things.

*Info about the Zyliss Shears:
# Blades are made of extra-hardened steel to stay sharp longer
# Ergonomic handle design lets user tackle even tough jobs with minimal effort
# Cuts all types of foods. Slices through dough, trims vegetables, snips herbs, etc.
# Works well on non-food materials: paper, plastics, fabric, etc.
# For right or left-handed use

The Zyliss Multi-Purpose Shears have an ergonomic spring-assisted design that permits full hand force with minimal effort. The Shears will easily cut through all varieties of foods, even chicken bones, and all types of materials....including my poor finger.

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