Decades ago, one near and dear to me, a young kid from California, struggling his way through basic training, was rudely called a fruit by his tech sergeant. This said tech sergeant had quite a propensity of showering everyone in the barracks with verbal abuse. These angry words and energy possibly made some of the other young men more manly. And others got more mad. My dear one would laugh. A natural response too hard to control. Many of these insults he had never heard before. Certainly, not in real life. To him it sounded funny.
Punishment for laughing at the wrong time varied. Sometimes his foot locker would get thrown across the room. Which meant diligently spending time refolding clothes with precision, and putting everything back into its prescribed location. Most often he would end up doing push-ups. While counting out loud, he could hear the sergeant yelling “you worthless #!@?*#’s from California are nothing but fruits and nuts” This sergeant shouted out that he was doing his best to make men out of them all, and some may not make it. Somehow this dear one survived basic training, despite frequent harassment, push-ups, laps around the dorm, and almost being set back. It took many years for him to regain his sense of humor and ability to laugh, or even smile, at absurdity.
Smiling and remembering that story sparked an idea to photograph fruit eaten during this summer. What a wonderful summer of fresh fruit it has been. Some from the market, most from friend’s & neighbor’s gardens, and the trees at my house. Regrets to fruits eaten too quickly, thus not photographed. Including, but not limited to, apples, grapes, cherries, kiwis, oranges and pears.
It’s common knowledge that we are what we eat, or more correctly, what we consume. This summer I’ve mostly succeeded at consuming a wholesome diet, through my mouth, eyes, ears, nose, and touch. Some things that I’ve seen and heard seemed difficult, especially local, national and world news. I realize these consumables are inside and part of me. Some digested and transformed better than others. As I breathe in at this moment, I’m most grateful, and proud to say, that I’m a fruit. Breathing out, it feels colorful and sweet inside knowing that such yummy beauty has become me.
Aware of the suffering caused by unmindful consumption, I am committed to cultivating good health, both physical and mental, for myself, my family, and my society by practicing mindful eating, drinking, and consuming. I will practice looking deeply into how I consume the Four Kinds of Nutriments, namely edible foods, sense impressions, volition, and consciousness. I am determined not to gamble, or to use alcohol, drugs, or any other products which contain toxins, such as certain websites, electronic games, TV programs, films, magazines, books, and conversations. I will practice coming back to the present moment to be in touch with the refreshing, healing and nourishing elements in me and around me, not letting regrets and sorrow drag me back into the past nor letting anxieties, fear, or craving pull me out of the present moment. I am determined not to try to cover up loneliness, anxiety, or other suffering by losing myself in consumption. I will contemplate interbeing and consume in a way that preserves peace, joy, and well-being in my body and consciousness, and in the collective body and consciousness of my family, my society and the Earth. ~Thich Nhat Hanh’s 5th of the Five Mindfulness Trainings.