Our favorite local farmer always offers garlic scapes to my daughter – when she was little, she used to wear them as spring necklaces and eat them as though they were made of candy. Now we still take handfuls to dress up our meals.

On a plate, they remind me of the chalkboards of the knot theorists I knew in graduate school in mathematics. I couldn’t believe that the work of knot theory was actually to stare at boards full of complicated designs and try to untangle them in their minds, but that is what it looked like they were doing.

For some reason, while I was getting that PhD, I also made friends who were getting PhDs in agriculture. I had a friend who was getting a PhD in strawberries, another who was getting a PhD in concord grapes, and a third in asparagus. They wanted to solve problems around growing crops organically and efficiently. Really, no matter how you slice it, a math PhD does not hold up to a PhD in strawberries. I could bring them buckets of chalk, or help them with calculations of any kind – but when they visited me, they brought baskets full of some of the best produce I have ever eaten in my life.

Knots or strawberries, the world is full of these interesting things to study – joyful quandaries to sit with and envision and untangle. And wear as necklaces. And eat. And they are so, so good.