Radishes and reasons

light and free
A thin, baby radish covered in grit changed my life when I was five. It was the first thing I ever pulled out of the ground to munch. Eating dirt made me shudder but I ate those radishes until my stomach turned sour. It was like swallowing joy.

I was mesmerized watching my grandma pick peppermint leaves from among the pink phlox and milkweed in her rock garden and pop them daintily in her mouth, chewing like a tiny wad of gum. It thrilled me to follow suit, rolling the minty leaves around on my tongue until I felt their surprising coolness on my throat.

I remember summer evenings padding through a family friend’s garden picking young lima beans, slitting the pods open with my thumbnail and tasting their tender, buttery tartness. I felt connected to a warm, comforting energy…… where my own wild things were.

After stumbling through my high school years and coming out broken on the other side, I again felt drawn to the healing earthiness of planting and caring for growing things. During my college years I immersed myself in greenhouses and gardens, wearing brogans and overall jeans and smelling of patchouli. One of the “horticulture hippies” on campus, I spent my meager paychecks on plants and pottery. My husband jokes that I came with alot of greenery. I’m still happiest surrounded by flowers and plants, my house brimming with oxygen!

I can’t figure why, but I’m turned on by the deeply honest journey from seed to fruit and flower.
The way green things, with no striving or straining, open up and receive the moisture, light and care they need with no apology. I love the dailyness of it, too…..the whole becoming process. Without drama, growth happens. Then without ceremony, they begin to bloom. What a beautiful legacy: just exactly what was inside of them becoming visible and available and enjoyable…..light and free as air.

God, I wanna be like that….to fully become the most organic, unpretentious, colorful version of the authentic me. No hype; just fruit.


  1. rachel awes on July 22, 2010 at 1:49 am

    oh jennifer, i ADORE the authentic you.
    i love how you write, how you are transparent here w/your heart & desires…
    i love where you place your gaze & hands…
    what a gift that first radish was.
    you know how to digest goodness
    & be w/it & be beautiful.
    your fruit, your bloom, your friendship…

  2. S. Etole on July 22, 2010 at 3:01 am

    I like that "no hype" nor drama part … and no questions. Just receiving and being what they are designed to be and giving in that being.

  3. Hindsfeet on July 22, 2010 at 3:28 am

    "No hype, just fruit." GOD!! BRILLIANT!!! That line is seared on my brain forever (and hopefully on my path as well)…..Fabulous philosophy, Girlfriend….

    …and gave me pause, this concept of growth without drama, blooming without pomp and circumstance, just the natural "of course" evolution of it all……

    So often I spend my heart's energy waiting for some "Big Bang"…..maybe time to consider a different vision, as you describe here…..unremarkable day in and day out progress, the unfolding "single steps" that carry us through the "journey of a thousand miles"….

    Such a helpful lens tonight, Jennifer……much needed perspective…….

    here's to "no hype, just fruit" (God I love that.)

  4. Marilyn on July 22, 2010 at 8:24 am

    What a wonderful post! You write so beautifully and have expressed everything that I feel myself. I wonder at the growth from a tiny seed to a perfect plant or tree, just quietly doing it's thing. Oh to live as simply but as perfect as a plant.

  5. Bren on July 22, 2010 at 12:27 pm

    'with no striving or straining, open up and receive…"Living loved by God is like that, he is always busy in the secret garden of our inner world. Once again you have written so beautifully about the things many of us can identify with. Way to go girl!

  6. Butterfly Works on July 22, 2010 at 12:51 pm

    You touched a place deep inside me…"the way green things, with no striving or straining, open up and receive the mosture, light and care they need with no apology."……"no hype just fruit"……You write what I feel…..Thank you for sharing you gift of expressing yourself in writing…

  7. maribeth on July 22, 2010 at 1:24 pm

    BE more and APPEAR less…no hype. Really love this.

  8. Mary on July 22, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    oh do most of us, me included strive and stain. what freedom to let that go. why is it so hard to receive what God longs to give??

    I loved reading this, and reading everyone's comments. i am sure i have told you this – you paint with words. your words touch our minds, but then head straight to the heart!!!

    i smiled when you said "wearing brogans and overall jeans and smelling of patchouli". i still like the smell of patchouli – sandalwood too" 🙂


  9. Francois on July 22, 2010 at 8:10 pm

    I am reading this post as if I had written it myself. Well at least the last part of it after High school. Patricia says I can't just walk through the garden I have to fiddle with the plants.
    Just imagine what this world would be like if everyone were able to be– without hype just fruit.

  10. Just Be Real on July 23, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Jen, I love the style of your writing. Thank you for who you are and for your heart. Blessings.

  11. Anonymous on July 23, 2010 at 1:29 pm

    When I read this, I can feel my own "locked-upness". And that is a good thing. I believe you tap into a universal heart cry with your words here and beckon each of us to stick our heads out of our personalized hiding spaces and take a long slow gander at what true freedom looks, smells, tastes and feels like once again. God has given you a very powerful gift of putting into words what we have all felt tumbling and rumbling around inside us but somehow could not find it's way out. You are like a midwife in attendance to pregnant hearts. I look forward to splashing around in the refreshing clear cool waters of your writngs to come! I treasure you, beautifull Jennifer!<3

  12. LeeAnn on July 23, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Me too Jennifer! I'm with you all the way on this. Fruit bearing from just being plain and no apologies needed ME! Sounds wonderful and we will get there for sure.

    As a young girl, I too loved my grandparent's garden. I loved just knowing I could go out in the garden and pick a fresh tomatoe or turnip and eat it by just rubbing off the dirt with my shirt sleeve. My grandfather carried a pocket knife and would peel and slice up that turnip and we'd have a little garden party picnic just he and I. Wonderful memories from the earth.

  13. dulcy on July 24, 2010 at 12:55 am

    I just came in from watering and tending my flowers. I really can't think of a thing to add that hasn't been said by you and the lovely comments to your post. Thanks for sharing this part of you so exquisitely!


  14. Jan on July 24, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Beautiful blog and amazing art!!

  15. Relyn on July 27, 2010 at 9:43 pm

    This memory delights me. Delights me, I say. It also makes me want to plant a bigger garden. For Sloane.

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