Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Grace Under Pressure
From the bean of Green Bean.
It happens every three months or so. I dig in my feet. I get greedy. I cling to the past and resist change.
It occurs most often on a Saturday. I find myself staggering through the market stalls, eyeballing produce and interrogating farmers. "How many more weeks for grapes?" "Is this the last week for watermelons?" "When does strawberry season end?" "Will it really last that long? Last week you said only two more weeks?"
And then I load up.
You'd think a locavore would have a bit more grace. Let the seasons slip through her fingers like grains of sand. Flow like a wind buffeted tree through the endless rotation of fruits and vegetables.
Not this locavore.
The most recent incident occured last weekend. Wheeling my cart past the cheese vendor, I spotted them. Watermelons. Why just last week, Raoul had sadly confided in me that there would be no more watermelon. They were gone until next summer.
"We got one more week's worth," he shrugged when I glared accusingly at him. "I'll take four," I announced, pulling the broccoli, pomegranates, and apples out of my cart to make room for four tight little melons.
After gorging myself on Raoul's fuchsia colored melons for three months, I will admit it. I am sick of watermelon. But who can resist one last hurrah? One last sweet pink bite before nine melon-less months?
Or my kids. When I placed a plate of hot pink wedges on the dinner table last night, they turned up their noses. "I don't like watermelon," complained my oldest. My 4 year old promptly echoed his big brother. "That's fine," I replied picking up a wedge. "It's the last of the season any way." You would not know children could move so fast but, within minutes, that last watermelon really was history.
After eighteen months of eating locally, I realize that being a locavore does not instill grace or acceptance. It does, however, teach wonder and appreciation.
It is like so many of the changes I've made in my journey toward a simpler life. Eating watermelon only three months out of the year renders it a special treat. A boundless joy.
Having fewer things makes those we do have more meaningful. We enjoy them more. We take better care of them. We fix and repair. We invent and circumvent.
Having less toys gifts my children imagination and creativity. Boxes become rocket ships. Shoes are submarines. And the lego set we purchased from a school friend is a priceless treasure.
Somewhere along the way, we, as a society, got lost. We thought that having it all would lead to happiness. Truth is, having it all only erodes the value of having. It leaves you with less. Less satisfaction. Less understanding. Less meaning. And less joy.
Clearing that empty plate I realize the plate is not empty at all. It is full of memories. Of pleasure. And the kind of appreciation that comes in knowing that we truly savored those last bites of summer.