Excerpted from my forthcoming book, Tell the Turning (shipping this autumn to my wonderful Kickstarter backers, & available soon for pre-order here), There is No Secret is read by Stefan Lorenzutti:
There Is No Secret Though a little money helps. Not too much to see through. And a little something beautiful to look at every day: a bridge; a pasture. And a little purpose, not too grand, not to weigh the world with good intentions. And a little love, which, if you tend it, sprouts and shouts and clambers like zucchini so that you have suddenly more than you know what to do with. Until it's November, and the frost-wind comes, and what you have now is the memory: all that eager, bursting, never-going-to-stop glorious zucchini.
Those familiar with the book might recognize the reader: Stefan is one-half of Bored Wolves, the tiny press that’s publishing Tell the Turning out of a cabin in the Polish highlands. On a video call about the book this spring, Stefan’s 7-year-old daughter drew us a picture of a zucchini which was also a constellation. A glorious zucchini in the sky. I think about it every time I think about this poem. Or see an actual zucchini.
It’s about to be zucchini season here in Portland. Barbara Kingsolver tells a story (possibly in her non-fiction book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) about high summer as the time when neighbors avoid each others eyes and hurry past each other’s gardens, avoiding the obligation to accept yet another armful of these most prolific squash.
There are no zucchini in my own garden. I’m sure someone will gift me some, and then I’ll have to remember what I actually like to make with them. I made pancakes once, which was…interesting. The layered summer casseroles, sprinkled liberally with parmigiano, are more enticing. And easier. I am not an adventurous cook.
There’s no takeaway from any of this. I keep having to remind myself, too. It’s why I wrote the poem. There is no secret.