The Romance of Seasons

Just this past weekend, the peas on our farm matured for harvest. The harvest will be short. Even in a good year, the season for peas lasts about a month or so, and this is not a good year. As a reputable website says, “Peas will produce as long as vines are healthy and temperatures stay cool… Once the temperature reaches the 80s, pea season is over,” Before the storms rolled in this week, we had high temperatures above 80 degrees for 8 days in a row. These cool rainy days may prolong the season a bit, but I’ve already seen the yellowing stems and misshapen pods that signal a vine past its prime.

All this means it’s the season for peas. There’s just a small window, maybe just two weeks this year, when there will be sweet, fresh peas from the garden. A few other farms may have them longer, those with better weather, or who started them in greenhouses. But, even then, it’s always just a small window in the grand duration of a year.

How pleasantly wonderful. There’s really something bracing about the fleeting possibility, about a time that can be awaited, and enjoyed, and passed by, to await its next coming. It’s the sort of truth about the world that makes it seem like a fairy tale. It makes it possible to be a story – there’s a beginning, a middle, and an end – for without opportunity, and opportunity passed, you can hardly have romance.

It’s like the World Series, especially when that was the one week of the whole year when the two Leagues met, and then a champion was decided. It’s like television shows, not on demand, but on a limited schedule. It’s like the sunset – ready or not, if you don’t watch, you’ll miss it. It’s like Christmas.

G. K. Chesterton once wrote that, “in order that life should be a story or romance to us, it is necessary that a great part of it, at any rate, be settled for us without our permission.” In the grand scheme of a life, the brevity of fresh vegetables is a fairly petty limitation. But, it is a true limitation, and it gives rise to a true delight.

This is the season for peas. Soon, we’ll have the long summer season for tomatoes and zucchini, peppers and eggplant. It is easy to stretch out and enjoy those harvests with more leisure. But even those pass in three or four months, and we can wait again, in mild anticipation of next summer, and pleasant remembrance of the last. Getting vegetables from a garden, there’s a consistent rolling of season after season, a time to appreciate one thing, a time to appreciate the next.

What an aid to appreciation the challenge is! To quote Chesterton again, “the thing which keeps life romantic and full of fiery possibilities is the existence of these great plain limitations which force all of us to meet the things we do not like or do not expect.” Sometimes I wish the seasons could be extended indefinitely. But if they could, would I find them so delightful?

It is the season for peas. I hope you enjoy it.

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