A day ago I had a luscious sensual hour of hard work planting my next year’s crop of garlic. The cloves I was using as seed were round and smooth and firm, and it was so easy to find the resemblance to beautiful breasts and butts. I’d spent half an hour with Conrad’s help, disassembling the garlic heads I’d bought for this purpose, and then another half hour with the cloves spread all over the dining table, sorting out the 45 biggest loveliest ones to put down into the dark. In this process I held and snuggled and smoothed each and every one; I met them personally and individually. The chosen 45 went into an empty yogurt tub to wait for the planting, and the others went into a comely little wicker basket waiting to be used in the kitchen. They, too, are in the dark, a little under-stairs space with a three-foot door, complete with doorknob and latch, that we call the Dwarf Closet. I can duck-walk in, but Conrad just gets on his knees and fumes.
I’d fertilized and tilled the garlic bed the day before the rain started, and the overnight blessing left the soil dark and fragrant. The afternoon was clear and the air was mild when I started the planting, and I loved kneeling like a camel on the folded burlap bag that would cushion my knees. It’s a whole lotta up and down, setting my twelve-foot marked lath strips that let me make holes at nine-inch spacing, using a bulb-planter to make generous cups in the soil, then spooning in a good dollop of worm castings to supply a fertile boost under the seed-cloves. At last, picking each clove up by its pointed little cap, nestling it into its place, and covering it with darkness. I stood up, stretched my back, looked at the smooth even surface that showed no sign of disturbance, and could imagine them all looking up and saying, “Just wait.”