If you say to your son that it is time to go down to the vegetable garden to pick the peas then you will find that it is not a bad day at all especially when he agrees to accompany you and with that in mind you both walk down past the six foot daisies and the fuschia hedge and the chickens eyeing us from the coop and the zillion wild poppies that we planted in late Spring.
This is nice. This type of friendship with a son. I mean what could be better than this. Rooting around in pea plants that have weathered storms and little sunshine with a child who has grown tall and strong and just turned eighteen. We say little. I tell him to only pick the ones that rattle, the pods that is, otherwise leave them alone, and he nods and says that he remembers from previous years and carries on and we share the blue colander I once bought in Monterey many years back. Our friendship is based on this nowadays, nothing more and nothing less. His limbs are bronzed and taut and he bends with ease into the cluster of nettles that discourage my quest. There is nothing to deter him. We pick until we tire.
At the patio table we rest and begin the shelling process. Another son joins us and soon we are united in the one journey-food for dinner. Talk is plentiful. Shelling your own peas can do that and I open a nice bottle of wine from France and we savour it in between our activity. It is not a chore. It is pleasure. The bees hum into the lavender and for a moment I am the mother again with these boys on my lap and now, look at them, taking time to be with me, shelling the fruit of our meal. I suggest mint for the peas and go to search it out, hidden in the undergrowth, its determination unstoppable. I pick several strands and throw it into the pot and I stand to look out at the empty pods on the table and they lay there like a piece of art and the two companions still remain, frozen like marble statues, temporary beauties in their own right and I thank all that this day has given me, the simple gestures and the picking and shelling and the sharing and listening and the giving and taking and the beautiful sky, a milk white evening full of cream and apricot served up in green pods, silken shells, smooth, erotic and gone now until next year that is and even beyond that.