The Produce is that which is Loved

“I believe in God, only I spell it, ‘N a t u r e.'”

-Frank Lloyd Wright (1869-1959)

Nurturing my house plants has led me to conclude that plants certainly do have a consciousness. It may differ from that of animals, but they have one.

When I was young, being raised by my grandparents, my grandpa had a garden that he loved tending. He persistently poured a great amount of energy and care into the maintenance of that garden, as well as the fruit trees that we acquired with the house he bought us in Flint, MI. Most of the things we ate came directly from our back yard, and they were always deliciously perfect.

While grandpa grew and maintained the garden, grandma cooked our meals and preserved the gifts it produced. She loved making jams and canning things. Playing in the living room while she and grandpa cooked jam together was always a struggle. As grandma relentlessly stirred the bubbling, purple contents of the large, metal cooking pot; that  warm, sweet, tangy aroma reached out and sneaked across the living room to form an invisible luring finger motion at the tip of my nose. More than once it tried to pull me away from my Looney Tunes. More than once it was successful, particularly when a piece of toast was involved. These were the times when our house felt like a home, alive with an air of passion.

People often wonder how I turned out as I did, considering the things I’ve overcome. I wonder that, too, every day. I think that part of my ability to find a positive outcome in any situation comes partly from the fact that while my body was growing, I was fed things that were grown with my grandpa’s love and attention. I also think that his produce was probably much more nutrient-rich than what could be found in the grocery mart, partly due to the affection it was given.

Grandpa was never one to show much emotion, and he was very difficult at times. Having suffered many losses in his lifetime, he became like the old, unopened Coke bottles he collected and kept in his gun cabinet- their contents forever locked within. But I always felt loved by him no matter what. Perhaps it was through his garden that his love was cultivated, and this was how he was able to share something he had no other way of sharing.

Yes, I am an omnivore. I love eating everything that is delicious which, for me, includes just about anything edible. A plant is alive just the same as an animal, and both deserve the same respect. I don’t think killing and eating something is disrespectful or immoral. I think what is immoral is abusing that privilege. There are many ways to do that: by taking more than you need to sustain yourself; by abusing a plant or animal before it is killed and consumed; by taking what you’re eating for granted through indifference or treating it like it is owed to you; and so on and so forth.

Is there a difference between how you feel after eating a steak of a grass-fed cow raised on a well-maintained farm and one that came from a depressed cow that spent its life on a factory farm being neglected, ignored, and malnourished and improperly fed?

When you go to a neighborhood filled with violence and neglect, you notice that nothing is growing there; the parks are devastated, the neighborhood streets and lawns have almost no vegetation whatsoever, and there is a feeling of emptiness and desperation in the air. Sure, the city probably has stopped funding the upkeep of certain areas simply because it’s too dangerous a territory to send workers, but plants never needed men to grow. They always grew fine on their own. The park near my house is not watered, yet it is green and lush. The people living in the homes on each side of the park have maintained beautiful lawns and gardens, and when one walks down those boulevards, it feels like a different neighborhood. It feels fresh and alive and happy.
Walking down a big street full of traffic, but with very little foot traffic, the trees are sparse and the few that are growing are pretty sad-looking little things. On a street with much foot traffic and fewer cars per hour passing through, or streets occupied by a more peaceful crowd, the trees are enormous and strong, and their branches are reaching all over the place creating beautiful designs to look up and gaze at.

It’s important to be thankful for what is put before you at the dinner table, and to appreciate it with every inch of your being, because it will be a part of you. Treat plants and animals well. Nurture them with love and positivity. The same that applies to our food also applies to all the people we encounter every day. A neglected or abused child will have stunted physical growth. A newborn baby literally will die if it is not touched within the first few days of life. Children will often suffer from health problems associated with nutritional deprivation when they are emotionally neglected.

So, with all of that said:

Thank you cow.

Thank you avocado.

Thank you sugarcane.

Thank you coffee bean.

Thank you etc., etc., etc, for keeping me going every day.

Thank you friends and family and strangers with positive energy to share with the world. This is what maintains life, and the more positivity and love we spread around, the stronger the overall life-force of our world will be.

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