say goodbye, my arugula.

During this busy gardening season I’ve been learning so much about the ancient art of gardening and farming, and it’s been a very humbling experience.  My daily trips out to the garden are always different, and observing the small changes each day, or even throughout the course of a day is inspiring.  Although it still seems early in the season, I’m facing my first goodbye to one of my favorites this week, as Arugula is taking its final bow.

Arugula was the first thing we put in the ground in early April, and it began producing beautiful, spicy leaves immediately.  We worried for it a few times when temperatures danced with the low 30’s at night, but it’s strong, and held on tightly. As the weeks went by we went from eating it by itself to mixing it with other leafy greens as they arrived. We topped our burgers with it for a spicier crunch, we made it as a bed under a fried egg for a simple breakfast, we paired it with a simple sweet dressing for a side salad with dinner, we even just ate the leaves plain from the basket as if it were popcorn.  Arugula was with us for nearly every home-cooked meal, and the words “I love this arugula” were said frivolously.  So you can see why this end to the arugula season is coming with some sadness.

 

This morning while I was going through and collecting some of the last leaves of my arugula plants I asked myself why this green would have an earlier and seemingly shorter life the other greens I enjoy, and it hit me like the most obvious ton of bricks.

One of the most important habits to form while studying and practicing Ayurveda is to examine the gunas, or qualities of a thing.  Early Spring season can be described as very heavy, moist and cold, and we can see this outside as well as feel it reflected in our bodies.  To balance this, the earth is producing pungent arugula which is very dry, light and spicy, or heat-producing.  Arugula is our very delicious medicine which gets us through those first couple of months when it is easy to be thrown off balance by all the change that is happening.

Now as we draw nearer to the Summer season which promises to be hot and dry, arugula can no longer effectively serve to balance us, and so must take a bow and hand us over to more cooling leafy greens.

It’s sweet, really, the way Mother Nature takes care of us.  Even sweeter is the way in which we find out that an arugula plant is on its way out, which is these beautifully precious, small, white flowers that it puts out as sort of a consolation to soften the blow of goodbye.