Last Thursday I picked radishes. Every single radish from our garden, I picked. I picked weeds first, and then I picked (or rather, pulled) the radishes. I bundled the radishes into four groups.
I took the first bundle to Story's teacher that afternoon. It was the last day of school, and I knew I would have liked a parting gift of radishes, kale, and lettuce from a garden. Maybe Story's teacher would too.
I used the second bundle on Saturday to make a new recipe, this Roasted Chicken with Summer Squash, Radish, and Scallion Salad.
The entire platter was cleared in minutes, and I've been asked to make it again already.
Early on Sunday morning, in drizzling rain, before coffee and breakfast cookies, I replanted the row of radishes. I found the right seed packet in the freezer in the garage, and the little digging tool that I don't know the name of. I must get more radishes on their way to me because the distribution and use of radishes is going so well.
Just before five o'clock on Sunday afternoon, the kids and I walked the third bundle of radishes across the street to my neighbor Shannon. I intended to stay only fifteen minutes but easily more than doubled that time because sitting by the lake in the sun while talking with Shannon is not an easy thing to walk away from. I shouldn't have gotten frustrated with myself, but I did. I needed to start my pot of rice and the Super Stuffed Tortillas I was cooking for dinner, so there was that.
There was also the fact that Story came walking down the back steps from Shannon's house with a Zip-loc bag of cheesy Goldfish, stuffing her mouth, and me worrying that it's too close to dinner and she ought not eat cheese anyway (we've been minimizing cheese for both girls due to unidentified tummy issues lately). I felt the blocked goal anger I sometimes struggle with, and I knew I needed a listening ear to help me recover. TJ was working in the yard when we got back home, but he graciously took time to debrief with me. I learned to give myself more margin and more grace for everyone the next time we walk over to visit. I learned that it's okay if we eat dinner at 6:30 instead of 6, and that radishes and friendship can win the day over schedules and Goldfish. I know life will give me the chance to practice that.
The fourth and final bundle of radishes (including the greens!) went in Tuesday night's dinner. These Brown Rice Bowls with Roasted Vegetables and Lemon-Tamari Dressing were also a new recipe, but not quite a hit with the family. I myself was pleased with the dish, with the toasted walnuts on top, and especially with finding another use for the radishes.
The radishes are gone now, except for these stories I get to tell. Writing about radishes has bought to mind a William Blake quote I copied down some time ago: He who would do good to another must do it in Minute Particulars.
Why do I think you'll have interest in the Minute Particulars of my radishes?
For one, this quote from Gretchen Rubin in Happier at Home sheds insight:
"My study of happiness taught me that, perhaps surprisingly, I tend to learn more from one person's highly idiosyncratic experiences than I do from sweeping philosophies or wide-ranging research. It's from the experience of a particular individual that I learn most about myself - even if we two seem to have nothing in common."
And on top of that, E.B. White's sentiments serve to signify why the minutiae means so much to me:
"I discovered...that writing of the small things of the day, the trivial matters of the heart...was the only kind of creative work which I could accomplish with any sincerity or grace."
There is radish work - the planting, growing, weeding, harvesting, using, giving away. And there is creative work - the seeking to understand, to write, to describe, to share, to learn my lessons, and to let the Minute Particulars of radishes live on through words.