My ode to peas.

The pea plant is my favorite plant, by far. The following might be a little extreme, but it is true – I love the pea plant!  Not only is Pisum sativum the most delicious snack to munch on between picking tomatoes and weeding the eggplants, but it is also the most elegant and peaceful plant, in my opinion. Did you know it is actually a fruit? Did you know it self-pollinates? Did you know it can fix nitrogen? Did you know you can eat the young shoots? Oh my goodness, what a cool plant.

I will explain the pea plant’s impact on my life. Last summer, I worked in a dark, over-air conditioned, sunless office staring at a computer screen. How did I make it through? I’ll tell you: The secret little gems I had stored away in my pocket kept me optimistic. I would wake up an hour early every day to pay a visit to the student garden to check on the plants, water them, do some basic chores… and eat peas fresh off the vine. I would take a few extra to hide in my jacket pocket (again, the office was over-air conditioned). A simple touch of the smooth green skin reminded my fingers of the warm sunshine and moist dirt that went into this little pod in my pocket. And then, at my most desperate moments, I would eat one. So sweet and cool and beautiful!  Days that I did not get to pay my early morning visit to the garden were the worst days. With no sharp crunch and sudden sensation of cool sweetness to start off the day, I knew those days would be darker – such is my obsession with peas.

Let me go on. If I had to get a tattoo, if it were a life-or-death matter, I would get a pea plant up my back. If I could only grow one thing in my garden, it would be a pea plant. If I got the chance to name a planet, I might name it after the pea plant. I like eating peas and their pods, I like looking at the plant itself, I like hunting for pods under the soft leaves, and I like trying to capture their elegance in drawings to decorate my apartment. Although they are spring plants, during this past fall, which was extraordinarily mild, my fellow student gardeners agreed to let me try to grow some. It worked and I got to rejoice with my gardening friends in the sweetness of victory and peas in the fall.

Why such a celebration of success? Because the pea plant is simple and beautiful in its purposefulness. The gentle curving tendrils with their life-seeking grip on anything in its path, the cute tiny pods swelling up and promising sweet deliciousness each day, and the simple perking-up of the leaves when you water them, these are the things that contribute to my love for the pea plant.

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