Archive for October, 2012

October 1, 2012

Thanksgiving & Watermelon

The Thanksgiving harvest scenes all around us are reminders of the abundance that surrounds us on a daily basis. What a wonderful time of year to acknowledge the gifts of the season as well as the gifts we are fortunate enough to be recipients of on a daily basis throughout the year. As I was thinking about what I wanted to say in this month’s article I kept revisiting a blog post that I wrote in July describing a personal experience of finding gratitude in what might at first seem to be an unlikely place. I finally decided that rather then re-inventing the wheel I would reuse this post in this month’s article. The fruit is a little out of season but the message is transferable to anytime of year. I hope it will inspire you to take some time to genuinely experience the bountiful gifts of Fall as it did for me in the midst of summer.

Watermelons and Gratitude

July 2010

Life is full of experiences that compel us to pause for thought. They can be joyful, challenging or a little of both. Last night at the end of a sticky 35 degree day I stumbled into one of the latter moments and was reminded that wisdom can sometimes be found in unlikely places.

During a recent visit to see my baby brother, after a day spent in the heat of the sun, I opened up the refrigerator and was happily reminded of the huge watermelon I had bought the day before. I gleefully hoisted it out of the refrigerator and commenced making the most wonderful mess of watermelon bits and juice all over the kitchen table. After chopping out a huge pile of half circle slices I sat down in the midst of it all and bit into the middle of one of them. As I was enjoying the sweet, cool, juicy fruit my brother walked into the room to find me surrounded by watermelon, happily crunching, juice running down my chin and smiled at the scene. Seeing him watching me I suddenly felt bad as my little brother is recovering from a stroke in his brain stem that leaves him unable to swallow. While he is very fortunate that every other part of him is still functioning he is no longer able to eat food.

Watching me eat he was met once again with the constant craving for real food taste and texture. After a few moments of observing me eat he decided to sit and “eat” with me. He placed small pieces of the fruit in his mouth and just enjoyed the flavour and texture, unable to let the fruit go any farther than his taste buds. What ensued was a watermelon experience of taste and texture exploration. Covered in the fruit’s sticky juice we laughed and discussed in great detail the taste, texture and all of the other glorious aspects encompassed in the eating of a watermelon at the end of that hot summer day. We talked about the smell, the crunching sound it makes when you bite in, the way it seems to cool your body and mind by taking over every single sense whether or not you swallow.

As I sat enjoying my watermelon I realized that until this moment in time I had no idea how to really enjoy a watermelon, no idea how to appropriately appreciate the gift of being able to eat a watermelon, and was simultaneously awed and humbled by the courage and strength of my little brother’s spirit as he sat there with me making the most of a very difficult situation.

The next morning, with this memory fresh in my mind, I took the rest of that watermelon out of the refrigerator with the respect and reverence it deserved. I did not boil the kettle or look for a newspaper to read. Instead I simply prepared my watermelon to be eaten. I listened carefully as the watermelon crisply parted under my knife, smelled the aroma that was released, felt the juice drip on my hands, and looked carefully at the deep red fruit before biting in. I proceeded to experience the moment as it deserved to be experienced with awareness and gratitude to all of those in the long line of planting, nourishing, harvesting, and transporting this fruit to me and most of all to my brave and inspiring little brother who taught me how a watermelon should be eaten, with respect and reverence.

Bobby Bessey