The Food That Makes Life Worth Living
This might sound crazy, but a six-pack of local berries and cherries saved me from falling off the deep end this weekend.
Saturday morning, I queued up in a line about 50 deep at my neighborhood farm market for my fix of summer fruit from a Virginia berry farm. Strawberries had been gracing the stand for the past four weeks, and I was hoping I might see the first batch of blueberries. Little did I realize I'd get treated to a whopper berry bonanza -- the blues, plus blackberries and raspberries -- and an extra bonus of sweet cherries. In awe of my discovery, I stared at the rows of fruit in their pint containers, bursting in shades of indigo and lipstick that every girl dreams about. The air was heavy with their perfume, and I swear, those berries were talking to me, begging for me to buy not just one pint but six.
Twenty-eight dollars later, I walked away with my tray of fruit, and my heart was racing, my eyes filling with tears. Here's why:
Every second of every minute, every hour of every day, something bad happens to someone good, somewhere. It's an abstract concept that I think we can all agree upon, but it is one that we all keep at arm's length until the universe serves us up a personal pan pizza of disaster, hardship and loss.
When life comes at us from behind and we are forced to smell, breath and taste the bitterness of suffering, it's like nothing else matters. In that three-ring circus of grief, mourning and coping, we lose sight of the beautiful things about living. Suddenly, the expression, "When it rains, it pours" is our mantra and the sun no longer sparkles.
A man has a heart attack. Another has open-heart surgery. An alcoholic returns to drinking. A woman and her husband learn that they are unable to conceive. One man's mother is dying and is becoming senile in the process. Another man's mother is cruel to her dying husband, his father. A woman in her mid-40s doubts that she will ever find a husband. A gay man in his mid-30s wonders if he will ever find a husband.
This is just a sampler of the story lines that have been weaving in and out of my life over the past month, a tangle of threads, a mismatched fabric that at times has been heavy and burdensome. And then Saturday morning comes, I queue up in the ridiculously long line and I lay eyes on all that fruit, petite morsels though they are, but proof positive that life is indeed a continuum, that with pain comes joy, that with loss comes awakening and that somewhere there is a beginning -- and a sweet moment --- underway.
At that very moment, my head screwed back on, and I knew it: This is the food that makes life worth living.
I did not rush home to bake a fruity treat; instead, I've been nibbling from my pints, a reminder to embrace life's sweet moments when they do come. And even when we don't think so, they will.
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Posted by: Fairlington Blade | June 16, 2008 10:54 AM
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