hops

232/366 - hops growing along the duck yard.

When I was a girl in Idaho, the hops, grown for beer production, thrived in the long, hot, dust fields near our home, clambering up narrow wires and down again in giant inverted V's. We were earnest Pentecostals then, zealous for holiness; I looked away when we drove by the fields, embarrassed by the brazenness of those pendulous flowers, those workers sweating to pick their tall white buckets full, knowing they would go home at night and drink the fruit of their labors. I'd never seen a drunk man before, but those immense fields told me they were real.

Eventually, my zeal for holiness was slaked by grace. A much more humbled woman, I planted a row of hops a few years ago along the duck yard where they can provide shade from the beating sun. In the mornings, I see those tender golden flowers, bright against the wire fence and I hear them whispering their ageless message about a God who is mercy and love.