#99 … root cellars, scarcely a memory …


IMG_0002In a landscape based upon a large and deep beneficence of a glacier, there are no caves.  Under four feet of soil it is all gravel, densely packed for sure, but gravel nonetheless.

To that condition the Indians dug a food cache lined with clay. Then came the first sweep of modernity building root-cellars, brick-lined shallow caves, available to the kitchen; a storehouse cooled by ground and a refuge when tornados whirled near. The electrical arc of the following bit of modernity brought refrigeration ending the root-cellar’s storage value; luck and basements, their safety value.

But there was a reduction in the knowledge of shared labor’s joys.

IMG_0001String dried smoked hams, jar-canned green beans, oversugared pears, tomato sauce, potatoes (small little red-brown ones chinking the pile of big pale ones with brown spuds), splotchy apples awaiting a knife, vegetable corn in various preserves and ground corn (starch like the Indians) sacked and surrounded by mouse-traps.  Spiders in summer, tiny icicles in the dark months, prowling cats, pickling jugs and sauerkraut, a barrel of sweet concord wine.  A treasure of canned labors to be opened and enjoyed, with stories.

As to the root-cellars, winds from the hoary north, layered ice and snow, rain, diminished these slight rises to uselessness, a slow brutal end to a once necessary cave.  Earth’s fatigue, but not a grave (or at least not probably) collapsed upon the limited wonder in the utilitarian cave.


Wouldn’t it be nice … some separate place to preserve, retire from, put in poetic order, wonder about, gifts in a timeless root-cellar for private, family, neighbor memories;  passed simplicity, thankfulness.



But what is it about a scarce memory … of abundance …  that wasn’t purchased.