Pomona lived in ancient times,
a nymph whose merest touch would green
an orchard, would fill its boughs with fruit.
Oh how Pomona loved her orchards!
The rest of nature left her cold, but
fruit trees! apples! pears! These were
Pomona’s great delight, her fiercest joy.
She bore a knife, but not for hunting:
no, hers was used to trim a hedge
of rose or cherry-wood, or to prune
a fruitless tree, or graft an aged apple
so that it burst forth anew.
Orchards were her secret nurseries
and trees were her beloved ones
who never thirsted, never withered.
Oh! to live among Pomona’s trees!
Oh! to be loved as much as that!
The Roman Goddess Pomona was honored as the spirit of fruit trees, and also as the gardener who tends them. For many people, connection with nature occurs primarily through gardening. Even in urban areas, a pot of marigolds on a balcony will brighten the darkest day. The connection between people and plants is one that has always illuminated myth and ritual. Although few rituals exist today to celebrate the great productivity of plant and animal life each summer, we can build our own with friends and family. Eating the first corn, cutting the first ripe tomato, grilling fresh fish in the open air: if done consciously, these can become rituals of thanksgiving and love to the earth that sustains us.
By Patricia Monaghan