How we long for raindrops on Lescure’s parched fields!
The worst drought since years and brutal August sun have turned the landscape brown. On younger trees the leaves are wilting, elderberries and wild brambles have shriveled, and a neighbour’s cows on the loose have dealt the final blow to our freshly sown grass. After our landscaping efforts in winter and spring, things are not turning out how I’d hoped. Seems I took rain for granted and I now feel quite bewildered that it looks as if it has disappeared forever. My umpteenth lesson in wabi sabi imperfection, transience and impermanence to which I’m not always as receptive as I’d like to think.
Meanwhile, our beginner’s vegetable garden stands in beautiful contrast to the dry fields. Thanks to a smart drip system that uses water very sparingly, it is yielding a rich harvest. We have strawberries that never quite make it to the table; it’s just too tempting to eat them straight from the plant while still warm from the sun. There’s zingy basil and mint, loads of courgettes of course, and cascades of glorious pink-red tomatoes, heirloom varieties in mouthwatering technicolour
Friends on late summer holidays drop by for a visit. Some have green fingers, others are great cooks. We tidy the beds and pull weeds whilst discussing nettle soup recipes. We make herbal ice tea and pickle the smaller cucumbers, bring tomato sauce to a slow simmer, and there’s overripe fruit to spare to bake tasty crumbles. Thanks to these simple ingredients, sprinkled with love and friendship, all meals look wonderful and taste delicious. This too is wabi sabi – gratitude for food as a gift. With every bite of a juicy heirloom beauty my conflicted thoughts about the season’s drought fade further away.