Ah, August. Not only is it the time of year those of us in the northern hemisphere experience the dog days of summer, it’s the celebrated time when we get to enjoy tomatoes that were homegrown in the dirt–the way nature intended!
Being a hobbyist gardener allows for a summer-long meditation practice.
First, you contemplate the seeds you’re going to start and gather the proper materials to give the seeds a good start in life. You spend time checking your little seedlings to make sure they have all they need to grow into strong, healthy plants. You take your seedlings for walks, so they can get used to being in the great outdoors (this process is called hardening off, but that sounds so… hard).
When the seedlings are ready to move, you prepare their home mindfully and create the ideal soil conditions for them to dip their rooty little toes into. You take more walks around the tomato housing complex, checking their growth and contemplating their needs: Are they getting enough food and water? Are they sick? Do they need a little support? As you tend to these needs, you focus only on the task at hand and free yourself from the endless to-do lists in your mind.
And then August arrives and get your first ripe tomato!
Since you’ve attained some enlightenment, you complete a calm ritual of slicing the tomato, artfully arranging it on a plate and gently sprinkling salt over the tomato slices. You gently cut a piece of tomato, place it on your fork and bring it to your mouth. You relish every bit of salty, citrusy, tomatoy flavor in that first bite. Every memory that winter exists is purged from your brain.
Then the bite is over. You’re still blissed out, but now you’re ravenous to get every bite of that summery goodness down your gullet as quickly as possible and all your good meditative work is undone.
I guess that’s why it is said there are many paths to enlightenment.
How about you? Are tomatoes your favorite summer treat? How to you like to eat yours? I’d love to hear all about your summer food passions, please share with us in the comments.