Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Acrid sloe

  In my reading I often run across quaint sayings that, at first reading, are impossible to understand. The following is an example ---
“There must be an acrid sloe before a luscious peach, 
A boll of rotting flax before the bridal veil.”

With dictionary in hand I understood the “sloe” to be one of the smallest plumbs, about twice the size of the blueberry; with a sharp and bitter taste but with hybridizing and time, from it comes the peach.
I learned that flax; a reed like plant, comes the linen fabric. But first it must be harvested and aged until after a precise degree of rotting, or renting as it is called, the bacteria eats the pectin inside the stalk making the reed pliable and ready for spinning. During this process they soak the reeds in ponds, which begin to stink when the flax is ready to process. With that information the saying took meaning and then the application began to unfold. Through the process of bitterness and decay often emerges usefulness and beauty.

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