The Asparagus Man

This was a gray day. The sky was overcast and gray. A gray Ford pickup truck had stopped in my driveway and a driver with a gray beard, holding what appeared to be a gray bouquet of flowers, came up to the front door.

The driver was Roger and he was actually holding a bunch of dry asparagus which looked gray in the fading light.

“I picked these on the edge of your property. They were growing wild but they should be tasty. There were more asparagus in the same spot but they were all dried up and had gone to seed.”

“Haven’t we all, Roger?” I said.

“All what?”

“Haven’t we all gone to seed,” as I ran my hand through my white hair which had not been cut in many weeks.

“Gone to seed?” Roger asked with a quizzical expression. “Gone to seed? You say we have all gone to seed?”

I could only nod in agreement. Certainly, at the age of 82, I was no longer young. Still, contemplating going to seed was not a complementary state of being.

Roger noted my discomfort and went into an explanation on finding the asparagus.

“These were off to the side of the garden, about to be overrun by pumpkin vines. I am sure they weren’t originally there, in the days when you first planted asparagus. The wind must’ve blown the seeds on a stormy fall day.”

I nodded in agreement. Then Roger added a moral to his dissertation on asparagus. “Don’t be sad. The asparagus may be no more but new asparagus will grow out of that seed. The asparagus hasn’t really died. Those seeds are really the promise of a future.”

As Roger and his gray Ford pickup pulled out of my driveway I remembered the words of a philosopher who said “Nothing ends unless something else begins.” I wonder, in my old age, what will I leave behind? What will begin?

At this time of the pandemic, when we all seem to be somewhat more vulnerable, we might ask what will be our legacy to pass on to the next generation? What will be the beginning as certain aspects of our life end? For that matter, will the end really be the end? As Yogi Berra said “It ain’t over till it’s over.” But is it ever over as long as those who remain remember the story of our life and as long as that story is rehearsed for those who come after?

I cannot answer these questions but I am grateful for the wisdom offered by the remains of wild asparagus. These are the seeds of life. I now have a delicious dinner and perhaps those seeds will permit me to plant for the present and harvest for the future.


7 Comments Leave a comment

  1. At 71 I embrace your lesson of asparagus seeds as especially relevant and a wonderful reminder of our personal responsibilities for this gift of life. As always, thank you Dan for your insights.


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