Childhood mint.

I checked out sweetleaves blog after she left some instructive tea comments for me on one of my posts, and was glad to find this nice little summation about mint.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but I love mint.  I love the way it cools your throat and opens up your lungs as you breathe it in.  I love it in tea, or in food in small quantities.  Most of all I love the smell of it drying, turning from that springy cool greenness to something more crackly and somehow warming and cooling at the same time.

I can remember drying it every year in my childhood.  We had a ‘small’ patch of the stuff under our dining room window, which looked out over the driveway.  Every year my mom would rip the stuff up by the roots, hang it on he back porch, and let it dry.  Every year it came back on its own, despite drought, flood, or any other potential natural disasters.  Some years it grew up past the dining room windowsill, and we could see it waving there gleefully, very much alive.  But the time we moved out of that house, we had coffee tin upon coffee tin of the dried stuff.

I never got tired of it.  True, my mother was always grateful that it only grew in that one patch of soil surrounded by driveway.  Of course, it completely dominated that patch, but couldn’t seem to cross the asphalt barrier around it.   I wanted to transplant some to the little bit of garden next to our front walk – who doesn’t like more mint? – but my mother wouldn’t let me.  It seems desirable to me still, that frantic growth and tenacity.  Honestly it’s probably not good for the balance of the environment – I think of the bamboo taking over parts of the national forest, or kudzu – but I still love the idea of something green and growing just not letting go.

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1 Comment

  1. sweetleaves said,

    February 4, 2008 at 5:42 pm

    Mint is considered an invasive, but not to the extent that kudzu is. Mint is considered a “subcosmopolitan” in terms of its distribution (a great word I just learned today), which means that it’s native to many parts of the world. Problems with mint as an invasive occur more on farms than in the wild, where someone will plant mint in their garden and it just takes over…

    That’s why a lot of people will grow mint in containers, or with a metal ring buried in the ground.

    Thanks for the link!


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