IMG_0173Gift Economy

Thank you to our neighbour, who carefully packs the apples from the trees in his back garden, puts them in bags on the street for passers-by, and knowing how much I like them, each year seems to bring a big sack to me. Last year I made him some chutney, this year I may make a cake– maybe I’ll just ask him! He’ll say, oh, I don’t need anything, but I want to show him how deep my appreciation runs.

I so enjoy gifts of bounty. And I am equally moved by the anonymous gift, by the way this man just puts his gifts on the pavement, for anyone. I remember on a particular street in Oxford, the doors to an incredible hidden orchard that was gardened by nuns one never really saw. In front there, one year, was a big bag of golden plums that seemed there just waiting. I felt so lucky to be the one to take them, made a jam that was a jewel-yellow. I wish I’d left a jar of that jam by the door of their garden. Maybe I need to just put a jar of something wonderful, another year, anywhere else at all.