In addition to being the 11th anniversary of my blog, yesterday also marked the 10th anniversary of a dear friend’s death.
My friend Elizabeth continues to be one of my personal heroes. She was an extraordinary person, but chose to live an ordinary life. Or at least what might appear from a distance to be an ordinary life. She didn’t seek fame or fortune, but valued the richness of her life, her friends, her family, and the many things in life that brought her joy. She was witty and insightful. She was warm and kind and incredibly supportive, but could show biting sense of humor. She cared deeply and passionately about the world, but also loved to let loose and get silly.
She died far too young, and I feel her loss still. There have been so many things over the past 10 years that I have wanted to share with her. To discuss, to celebrate, to lament.
I know that I am not the only one who continues to miss her. She had an impact on so many who knew and loved her. Her impact was not from any single great feat or action, but from the sum of countless moments of connection with others.
Her life was indeed extraordinary.
No mockery in this world ever sounds to me so hollow as that of being told to cultivate happiness. What does such advice mean? Happiness is not a potato, to be planted in mould, and tilled with manure. Happiness is a glory shining far down upon us out of Heaven. She is a divine dew which the soul, on certain of its summer mornings, feels dropping upon it from the amaranth bloom and golden fruitage of Paradise. (Charlotte Bronte, Villette)
Happiness is not a potato.
Close to 2 years ago, I was preparing to roast some vegetables for dinner. I washed a potato, and started to cut out some of the eyes that looked like they would be a bit tough, when, to my surprise, I had the impression that the potato was looking back at me. Yes, we all know that potatoes have eyes, but they don’t usually have mournful eyes. Further, I realized that the “eye” I was cutting into with the point of my knife was actually more like the potato’s nostril. Filled with remorse, I stopped to take some photos of my sad, sad potato. (And then I continued to cut it up and put it in a roasting pan.)
Some days later, I came across the quote above, by Charlotte Bronte. Indeed, happiness is not a potato, and I had the photographic proof.
If anything, as far as I can tell, sadness is a potato.
Sad potato is sad.¹
While perhaps not with the same frequency as my sharing of leaves, this is far from the first time I’ve shared vegetables with faces. In fact, 3 years ago, a butternut squash and I declared November 21st to be International Day of the Odd Vegetable.² Together, the squash and I reminisced about an eggplant we once knew.
How about you? Have you come across any produce with personality?
¹ That’s what I was imagining I’d call a post about this potato.
² Alternately, The Day of Peculiar Produce.