I have been making a lot of yummy salads this summer, party because it’s too hot to cook and partly because we have been growing the most beautiful tomatoes and peppers and herbs. If you know anything about vegetable gardens then you know when things are ripe they are ready to eat NOW. Some people bottle or freeze things but I’m entirely too lazy so I just find creative ways to keep eating them fresh.
I made a lovely Caprese salad for myself and Lynzi a few days ago with vine-ripened tomatoes and perfect basil and fresh mozzarella with some drizzled olive oil and balsamic vinaigrette. I put them in these polished wooden bowls that I have had for years after coveting them and knowing they needed to be part of my life. I had expectations. I envisioned us sitting down to have a chat and eat together. I wanted to look at her face after a day of seeing everyone else. As usual, expectations are the demise of the human soul. We got busy and ended up eating standing up in the kitchen and then rushing off to the next thing. I felt sad and wistful. I wanted more. More human time, more connection, more appreciation for each other and life and, well, this gorgeous salad in my favorite bowls. I felt lost in the mad rush of life as is often the case.
We live in a world where the bottom line is not only expected but revered. We say things as quickly as possible and get to the point. We say “ya” instead of “yes”, we text things like “brb” and “ttyl” so we don’t have to type out all of those words. We text rather than call because who wants to have an actual conversation about when to meet for dinner? Technology is our religion, and people are often just in the way of our bottom line.
Words have not always been so inconvenient. Writers through the ages have used them to publish great works that challenge our minds and lift our souls. I love to read. In ninth grade we had to read some works by Charles Dickens. I got lost in his novels and not always in a good way. He used SO MUCH DETAIL. I like your stories Charles but I don’t need an entire paragraph to envision what nature was like that day. My bottom line was being challenged but a writer from 140 years earlier! I am not a great story teller. I kind of meander along and give too many details and end up telling five stories in one. Maybe Charles and I are kindred spirits after all.
What do I want to take away from this? Well, I’d like us all to stop and just BE sometimes. Just once this week rather than texting, call; instead of looking at your phone, put it away and engage in conversation with your mouth and not your hands. We don’t always NEED to get to the bottom line, and we don’t always NEED to go on and on like Dickens, but surely there is a happy medium. And for the love of the gods, when someone places a Caprese salad in a polished wooden bowl in front of you…STOP and relish the moment with them and talk and eat and soak in the moments of life, before the moments are gone.