It may be hard for an egg to turn into a bird:
it would be a jolly sight harder for it to learn to fly while remaining an egg.
We are like eggs at present.
And you cannot go on indefinitely being just an ordinary, decent egg.
We must be hatched or go bad.
C. S. Lewis from Mere Christianity
I reveled in being the good egg.
Smooth on the surface,
gooey inside, often a bit scrambled,
ordinary and decent,
indistinguishable from others,
not making waves.
It’s not been bad staying just as I am.
Except I can no longer remain like this.
A dent or two appeared in my outer shell
from bumps along the way,
and a crack up one side
It has come time to change or face rot.
Nothing will be the same again:
the fragments of shell
as useless confinement.
my home becomes
the wind beneath my wings
soaring an endless horizon
that stretches beyond eternity.
The whiskey stink of rot has settled
in the garden, and a burst of fruit flies rises
when I touch the dying tomato plants.
Still, the claws of tiny yellow blossoms
flail in the air as I pull the vines up by the roots
and toss them in the compost.
It feels cruel. Something in me isn’t ready
to let go of summer so easily. To destroy
what I’ve carefully cultivated all these months.
Those pale flowers might still have time to fruit.
My great-grandmother sang with the girls of her village
as they pulled the flax. Songs so old
and so tied to the season that the very sound
seemed to turn the weather.
~Karina Borowicz “September Tomatoes”
I have an uncomfortable relationship with fruit flies this time of year. The compost bin erupts with a black cloud of fruit flies when I throw in the day’s cast offs. The fruit I bring in from the orchard and garden must be preserved before it rots, but hundreds of Drosophila melanogaster decide their breeding grounds are far more hospitable in a warm kitchen than in the chilly outdoors. And breed they do, each female laying up to 100 eggs a day just like in biology lab at Stanford 40+ years ago where we traced recessive vs. dominant genetic traits of curly deformed wings, stubby bristles and colored eyes. I am not interested in such subtlety in my current crop of flies. In fact I have no sympathy for them at all.
I have laid out killing fields everywhere on the cupboards — fruit fly traps (paper cones feeding into apple cider vinegar baths in water glasses), a cautionary tale to the daily burden of fresh fruit flies.
As rot and degradation is their happy place, the flies will win until the fruit is harvested, preserved and put away for a winter day. Then the kitchen becomes my happy place again, fly-free with no more killing fields.
Then I must face the cruel task of pulling up carefully tended garden plants to ready the beds for winter. Perhaps if I remember to sing as I pull them out by the roots, they won’t see me weep.