Roots, Beets, Ashes

borschtI will just go ahead and say it. I love beets. They are just too delicious.

It started with a piping hot bowl of borsht when I was in Russia. Then I had roasted beets that were sweet and caramelized. Then beet salad, pickled beets, more borsht, and then this year I ate some amazing melt in your mouth sing out for joy because food is so good beet risotto. It was bright magenta, it tasted fresh, and it was fun.

But, a beet starts off a little gross and weird looking. The first time I bought beets in the grocery store, I was not 100% sure that I was indeed buying beets. They are dirty and knobby with excessively long greens that no one warned me about. There they sat on my counter as I considered how to turn them into borsht.

Do I peel them?

beetsIs there anything that can be done about the weird hairs coming off the sides?

What do I do with these greens?

It was silly, but I was still surprised that they did not come out of the ground ready to be borsht. They are covered in dirt, dark brown, earthy smelling. And I realized; it was a root.

Duh, Audrey.

A root, that sits inside the earth, storing up for the rest of the plant, becoming bigger and better as the days grow shorter and colder. A root that is doing all the work, but it is unseen. A root that will become something so much more, you just have to give it time to do the work.

ashAnd today is Ash Wednesday, a day that we remember our mortality. A day that we burrow inside of ourselves, sink deeper into the darkness of Lent in order to become fuller, stronger. We root down, store up, and hope for the light. But all that while, we know we are becoming something more.

Right now we don’t look familiar, we have some dirt smudged on us, and unruly unwanted things sprouting out of our lives. But things will shed away. We will be dug up, we will be beautiful and bright.

We just have to do the work underneath first.