Parsley, Sage Rosemary and Thyme

Dreams could come at least 50% true, and songs too, apparently. That’s what I found when I read the recipe on the label of the packet of black spaghetti. Black, because it gets it’s colour from ink fish. I needed sage and rosemary to bring this black spaghetti to life. And the song that started to play in my head is one I grew up with – “are you going to Scaborough Fair…. parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme” in the harmonious voices and the gentle music of Simon and Garfunkel.

I remembered too, the herb garden – no Scaborough Fair but more like the commons of Oegstgeest – the village in which I live. It’s a little strip of land, on the edge of the shopping centre that I discovered quite by chance when I first moved here three years ago. Here, a board says in Dutch, and I translate:

“Pluck a leaf, flower or seedling, at ease

Of different herbs according to your wish

Go about it in a sustainable way

So that you leave something behind for others”

When I first discovered the herb garden, I found its location in the heart of the commercial centre of the village fascinating. What could be the message, I thought, that the makers of this garden want to give to us, the residents of the village? That, before you enter into shops and supermarkets overflowing with everything you may or may not need, there’s a spot – modest in comparison – where you could stop to indulge in another way of shopping. Or picking. However you see it, take your pick.

At that time I was impressed by the garden’s location. But I soon realised a few things about the village. That it’s full of volunteers whose aim it is to contribute towards improving the quality of life. That the initiatives are many and diverse. And that the herb garden is beautiful for it’s own sake. It has no other function besides offering, in a sustainable way, folks the possibility of parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme should they need it for a meal or two. It stands there as a reminder – a thing of beauty – that hopefully will last forever, while busy shoppers in the background continue to do what they came there to do.

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