Thursday, July 24, 2008

Li'l Lamb's Quarters

I came across this sympathetic plant, lamb's quarters, last week when I needed comfort. I noticed it in weedy tree pits, sidewalk cracks, my backyard overgrown now with spiderwort, and among my adorable nasturtiums that survived the early summer onslaught of aphids. It was strange how it manifested in the window of the magic 8 ball of the world, as until then I'd pulled it up a million times with only the slightest awareness of its presence, which is a very sweet one. It's got slightly blueish leaves, powdery white on the underside, with soft flowing serration that creates an outline looking remotely like the head of a sheep, to me anyway. A relative of Quinoa, the leaves can be eaten cooked or raw, dried and ground into flour, and the black seeds it produces by the thousands can be eaten as a grain.

I'm not sure why it's called lamb's quarters, and like most plants it has many many names. Last week, when I felt the world was falling apart, it became the Jesus plant because of the profound comfort it was somehow able to give me. I even noticed one growing on 17th St. that appeared to be spattered with blood on Thursday morning, the day Kimberly, my coworker, died. But then again, I also noticed the fallen limb of a plane tree lying on the 8th Ave sidewalk North of Beth Elohim that morning, and was surprised and a little befuddled to see that the inner wood was red bleeding to pink.

Wow, funny thing, I just googled lamb's quarters and found this article from the New York Times, published, um, TODAY. Scary! Apparently Lamb's quarters "are the cook-friendly version of spinach: the flavor is more delicate, the stems are less tough and the leaves retain less grit, so cleaning them is quicker and easier."

I'm glad you're coming across some well deserved celebrity, you sweet little lamb. Somehow, seeing you in the sidewalk cracks gives me hope, and I can't say why.

Here's more on lamb's quarters

1 comment:

Vanessa said...

I am very sorry to hear about your co-worker, pet, and of course can barely digest the Chase Harrington story... Glad this little leafy plant provided some hope and comfort.