American dream in an envelope

cherry tomatoesWith the end of the holidays the seed catalogs arrive. There may be nothing more American than a seed catalog: it is both the song of nature and the promise of perfectability, conveniently packaged for a low low price. It lures us with photographs of plump vegetables in green gardens and plump children in green grass, the fruit of the earth and of our loins, the promise of spring and of a new generation. Beneath swelling tomatoes and glistening heads of broccoli captions proclaim Hybrid! They are bigger, stronger, more durable, better tasting, more nutritious, longer growing, the wonder of technology. We can make the world better; just add water and warm sun and hard work and clean living. It may not be uniquely American, this promise of technology and commerce to grant us natural wonder and old-fashioned virtue, but it is American. An American dream in an envelope. In the pit of winter it is irresistable.

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