Saturday, September 2, 2023

The Art of Digging for Potatoes


It’s potato season here on La Belle Farm. Every September, Dr. Thompson and I harvest our potatoes and I am once again reminded of childhood days when I helped my grandfather harvest his potatoes. I love the practice of getting close to the earth, down on my hands and knees,  inhaling the aroma of fresh dirt, the fragrant autumn breeze on my face, the hot sun on my shoulders, and all the mysteries that go into growing things.

Honestly, it feels like a prayer.

Potatoes are not pretty at first glance. They're covered in dirt and it's hard to tell whether you've found a rock or a potato. In particular, farm potatoes are not like those perfect orbs you find at the supermarket. Rather, they're a misshapen bunch.  Some are quite small and some are fairly big. They come with dents and pock marks. They honestly don't look as if they'd be very good to eat. But friends--once completely dug up from their hiding place, placed in a bucket, rinsed and scrubbed--well, then potatoes transform into something beautiful and delicious. Tender. Truly tender.

Making art can be a lot like that. You dig and you dig and you come up with this messy/misshapen thing and you say hey, this is no good! I'm not an artist! Who do I think I was kidding!? Okay, maybe you don't do that. But, I do that. However, by now I know enough to say that this is part of the process, because this seemingly misshapen thing, covered in muck is actually a thing of beauty. A treasure. The key is to be patient. Gently dig and dig some more. Don't be too quick to call something a stone or a rock when it's in fact the beginning of your masterpiece. Brush off the dirt. Clean. Organize. Wait. Have faith.

Creative potato diggers--your assignment for this week is to dig and dig some more. And love your potatoes in all their imperfection.

And have fun.



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