This morning I got up early, looked out the window
And went back to bed.
It was snowing.
As far as I could tell in the dull light.
Slightly later, however,
after a shower,
and three cups of very black tea,
I decided someone must have flooded the field and frozen it
for an iceskating party.
Or something like that.
Hey, what did I know? It was only six fifteen.
Again, some time later….
Actually, it wasn’t until I told my husband, “hey, do you want to go ice skating in the field after work?”
followed by my husbands’ blank look, and “say what?”
that I finally really woke me up enough,
the fields were wrapped in plastic.
You heard me.
This week is Easter.
You wouldn’t want the asparagus to get cold, would you?
to break through the knee -high dirt mound around each stalk,
automatically changing the white-tipped asparagus
from first class premium-
anything from $20-$30 for two portions,
to the spindly purplish,
or even green stuff
worth less than half.
For this is the land of the kings’ vegetable.
(by magic-thinking only- ie if it looks like something sexual it is)
“thins the blood, cleans the kidneys, etc etc”
that costs more for a field worth than an ante-bellum mansion,
and makes good old Gutenberg Land
the Detroit of Europe.
Or maybe Roulettenberg, if you are a Dostojewsky fan.
every year, the government here cranks out cheap-paying jobs,
for anyone willing to do the back-breaking bend, stick a sharp sort of tuning-fork thing
parallel to the ground,
and cut and pull out a stick of pure white gold.
and a head-ache
at the end of the day.
But, for most Gutenbergers,
you just can’t have Easter without it.
Meaning one of two things:
You either go to church,
and then pick up your pre-ordered kilos of the stalks after,
peel for two hours,
and then cook-
with butter, or thin-sliced ham, or schnitzel (breaded calf-filet)
you go to church-
six hundred worshipers in a church for four hundred,
then go to the city,
where you have reserved a table in one of the asparagus specialty restaurants,
then take the family to see Star Wars,
or a Disney film
with on-line tickets bought (or scalped) weeks in advance.
(And leave the movie every ten minutes, because white asparagus causes extreme kidney activity.
And with children along…)
At least you can usually buy the Dvd a few weeks later,
to catch up on what you didn’t see.
Or, you can do what my husband and I do-
Take the car across the ancient bridge to the other side of the Rhine,
go for a pre-Easter sunrise walk,
watch the sun come up over the quiet little boat harbor,
join the worship crowd at the special outdoor service,
then go home for the Easter-egg war-
each egg has to be cracked head on head,
or point on point.
whoever’s egg survives gets a wish.
And fresh rolls,
and chocolate rabbits,
a quick telephone call to everyone we know,
and then hibernation.
Preferably until the end of the asparagus digging season.
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