Summer Still Life #1 | Mark Lindsay

The squash plant in our backyard is a real producer. According to my count, it must grow some thirty squashes during its short season of life. Plump, firm, colorful, and delicious, the vegetables serve to nourish us throughout the summer.

The proud plant makes its home in a large container, propped up on a stone wall that overlooks the house. The location gives the plant a superior vantage point. It can see and assess all the activities of the house and its surrounding yard. If I were a living thing that could not move, I’d like to be stationed in that very location. This, I believe, is one reason why the plant makes us so many squashes. Happy plants make for delicious and plentiful vegetables.

It is a noble burden that this plant endures. It lives and grows in service to us. Yes, we supply it with soil and water but a prisoner in a dirt-floor dungeon would get the same amenities. It seems like an unfair trade, especially when you consider the end game. In a few short months, my wife will be yanking the dead plant out by its roots and turning it into mulch. Ashes to ashes.

While the plant is still alive, I decided to honor it. There’s no better way to pay homage to a fruit or vegetable (other than eating it) than to make a still life out of it. A still life is a monument to the earth and her seasons and to the plants, farmers and gardeners who feed us. And so I took some of the plant’s squashes and put them in strong summer light. I then made a few simple pictures. Now, when the summer turns to autumn and the plant returns to the soil, I shall remember this summer moment when the sun was bright and the squashes were plentiful.