Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The World in a Pumpkin

I was cutting and peeling a pumpkin this morning so I could cook it. I froze part of it and saved the rest to use in muffins later. As I was doing this, I was filled with a sense of wonder at this incredible creation we inhabit and are a part of and at the same time I felt a deep sadness at the ways in which we seem to be determined to destroy this wondrous earth. We pollute consciously and unconsciously. We use far more than we need to and create too much waste. The air, ground and water are filled with toxins and so are our bodies. A couple of months ago, I watched a movie at a library in Vermont called Garbage. It followed one family's garbage to see how much they collected and what happened to it after it was taken away in the truck. One person the filmmaker spoke to said that our bodies are taking longer to decompose now when we die! They are apparently so full of preservatives and other chemicals that tissues take longer to break down. The doctor thought that it was not inconceivable that some day human bodies will have to be buried as hazardous waste!
Cutting my pumpkin, I thought about how miraculous it is that we have so many different kinds of food that grow from this amazing earth—not processed and created in an industrial factory somewhere. I bought this pumpkin from the local farmer's market where it grew somewhere not far from here. It was available in the early autumn, after a long procession of foods that were available earlier in the year. We are provided, most of us, with food that comes along when the time is right. Some of it is extremely perishable and hard to preserve, so we eat it right away. Some, like my pumpkin, keep for a long time and are easy to cook and preserve, so they can be enjoyed throughout the winter, when nothing much is growing. My pumpkin was probably grown in soil that was full of whatever crud is floating in the air around here. How long will it be before the air, the ground, the water are so polluted that things will not grow? What lab will create a pumpkin? Why can't we see this earth for the miraculous and wonderful planet that it is? If we did this, how would we change our behavior in ways that honor the earth and take care of it? We will kill the planet without ever stopping to consider that when this ship sinks, we're going down with it.

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