Culture


Stop what you’re doing! It’s Harvest Day in Oprah’s enormous garden and, I guarantee you, there is nothing more exciting happening in the universe. To celebrate Harvest Day, Oprah did my favorite of all Oprah things. (Every year Oprah releases a Favorite Things list and every year I release a Favorite Oprah Things list. It’s usually twice as long because she’s amazing.) One of the best things Oprah does is post ebullient photos of herself next to enormous vegetables from her garden in Maui. Oprah loves her garden so much. She just posted the latest in the series on Instagram. True to form, she’s wielding literally the largest basket of veggies you have ever seen. Peter Rabbit is shewk!

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I’m obsessed, first, with the aesthetics of this. Every cornucopia is trash compared to this. Horn of plenty? More like horn of try again next time. Have you ever, in your life, seen such gorgeous vegetable arranging? No. You have not! Nature could never!

As usual, Oprah—one of the most photographed humans to ever live—peers out from underneath a floppy garden hat with an expression that is partly bemused and partly blissed out. She’s like a kitten that got into a catnip stash and is trying to play it off. It’s amazing. This expression is a staple of Oprah garden pics:

Here she looks like Stedman just casually caught her gardening.

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Have you ever seen someone look so zen about a purple potato?!

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This needs to go on the cover of the next O Magazine, to be honest.

I’m obsessed with Oprah’s expressions around vegetables. It’s like she can’t even help herself. Which, given the scope of the garden and the size of the vegetables she’s harvesting, I don’t blame her. Look at the size of this zucchini!

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Oprah is hype about it. Even that cow in the upper right poked its head through the grass to get a better look. That cow was like “Bish what?! I’m shewk. They need to call you Miracle Grow-prah. Get it? It’s like Miracle Grow and Oprah. It’s a play on words… With your name.”

What is that cow doing there? Is there other livestock? Do they all talk? So many questions.

And why is everything so big?!

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Oprah’s garden is the horticultural definition of “This is too much.” I feel like even calling it a garden is inappropriate. Calling Oprah’s massive estate of giant vegetables a garden is like saying Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern got to tour a reptile petting zoo.

I would not be surprised if Oprah had a couple of velociraptors stashed somewhere. I’m just saying.

Everything about her garden is immense.

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Look at her hiding Easter Eggs in the Whomping Willow!

And in a diversion from her normal Jurassic Produce content, she once wished us all “rose blessings” after cutting 14 buckets of roses from her garden. Your neighborhood Trader Joe’s doesn’t have 14 buckets of roses in the whole building and Oprah’s just spending a morning grabbing that many from her garden. No big deal. Just a little “thinking of you” gift for Michelle Obama.

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Occasionally, we get wacky videos from Harvest Day. In this one, she announces the vegetables like she’s welcoming Jennifer Aniston on to her show. And don’t you know I sat up at my desk and cheered. “YES! PEPPERS! LOVE THEM!” What’s best about this video is that she forces the camera to come close so that we can smell the aromatic Thai basil and lemon verbena. It’s out of control. You start to wonder, “Can I smell it? I think I can. Oprah says I can. Is this The Secret?” It is unclear whether this video is a weird home movie about vegetables or the future of cinema. Either way, it deserves a Pulitzer Prize.

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In this classic, we get a shot of Ava DuVernay, Gayle King, and goddaughter Kirby Bumpus, on a hike in the garden. It is unclear if they ever got out.

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I love Oprah’s self-satisfied expression, especially compared to Gayle’s “I’m not here for this” face. Oprah was like “Want to go for a stroll in the garden?” and then she turned to the camera and grinned like Frank Underwood. If Oprah asks you to go to her garden, pack an overnight bag. And the biggest bottle of ranch dressing you can find.

If you do a search for Oprah’s garden, you open yourself up to a whole magical world of content. This video is called “You Won’t Believe What Oprah Pulled from Her Vegetable Garden” and when I clicked on it I was like, “I don’t know. I’m a hardened vegetable detective. A de-tuber, if you will.” But two minutes later, the video went off and I said out loud to an empty room, “I cannot believe that.”

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That’s the power of the garden.

When I go, please bury me in Oprah’s garden. I want to come back as a lot of kale.

Oprah’s garden makes me want to be a better person. Or, short of that, it makes me want to put down this bowl of pumpkin spice matzo ball soup and pick up a gigantic carrot.

Follow R. Eric Thomas on Twitter.



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