September 7, 2009
“I have given myself to this new garden that I may receive from it the gift of summer tomatoes and sweet potatoes, of scarlet peppers and the purple robed eggplant, of honey-sweet corn and buttery beans. But I do not forget that I alone cannot restore Paradise, not even in my own backyard. ‘Retreat to the garden,’ writes William Cowper, ‘cannot indeed to guilty man restore/ Lost innocence, or cancel follies past/ But it has peace, and much secured the mind/ From all assaults of evil’ (The Task)”
Excerpt from The Fragrance of God by Vigen Guorian, p. 68
I recently finished this wonderful book and have found much joy and peace in the author’s reflections on gardening. Here is some of the summer’s bounty…
I made a quick fried rice with the fresh vegetables in my garden. Lovely Crown Heights, Brooklyn: despite the fact that I must regularly fish out broken glass bottles and chicken bones tossed over the fence into my garden plot, the plants have managed to thrive and given me reward for my pains. It is a blessing to be able to get my hands dirty, to weed and replant, to discover new buds and flowers– promises of good things for the future.
Not much to say in terms of this recipe: purple onions, diced zucchini, corn from the cob, sliced green eggplant, a fried egg, some chinese sausage all fried up with some leftover rice. I threw in a handful of pine nuts and cilantro and a drizzle of sesame oil and tamari sauce to finish. Simplicity becomes divine.