We associate the color green with growth, renewal, health, and rebirth, and nowhere is this more evident than in the goodness of green fruits and vegetables from our farms. Nature’s gifts of these beautiful gems nourish both our body and soul.
In a recent post Reverie of Reds, I talked about getting lost in colors, something that happens often to photographers and all admirers of color. Green shades of forest, emerald, pine, moss, and more give us a sense of being close to the warm earth where produce is grown and harvested. These shades evoke the symmetry of seasons, both in growing and also in our lives.
My grandparents and great-grandparents on both sides of the family were farmers in Georgia, and as generations of offspring we learned the values associated with agriculture, namely hard work, preparation, balance, and patience. As with this year’s crop, we understood that nothing about tomorrow is promised and without a sustained commitment to make it a success, there’s little chance for that outcome.
Most Sundays after church, my parents, my brothers and I would head to my grandparents’ house for a weekly family reunion with our aunts, uncles and cousins. Three generations would come together, and after a scrumptious meal of foods cooked the only way we knew – Southern – the children would play freely all over the land while the men sat talking outside the barn in metal chairs, and the women gathered on the breezeway outside the house.
If there was one single thing I could return to from all my childhood, it would be those Sundays sitting on that breezeway with my grandmother, mother, aunts and cousins. Because as soon as the women gathered there, my cousins and I quickly would join them to help shell bushels of butterbeans and black-eyed peas, and listen to the stories they would tell about our family and the past.
I remember like it was yesterday the feel of the cool enamel basin full of vegetables placed on your lap while sitting in the warm Georgia sun – the texture of the green vegetables in your hands as you shelled furiously to keep up with everybody else – the voices of the women, our women, telling stories, our stories – and laughter so heartfelt it often would turn into uncontrollable tears running down their grinning faces.
What I wouldn’t give for just one more Sunday afternoon like that.
When I see green fruits and vegetables, I appreciate them as nourishment, but I value them for how they came to our stores and our tables. Hardworking families tempted fate with all the things that can thwart a season’s crops, and succeeded for us. There is no amount of respect too great for the farmers across our great country.
And maybe this is why I feel such a kinship when I put fruits and vegetables before my camera, hoping to chronicle not only their beauty but at their heart, the stories.
Today we celebrate green in all its goodness and glory with some of my photographs of fruits and vegetables. Enjoy!
What would you return to from your childhood if even for just a day? Please comment below!