Went to the Grandin Farmer’s market a couple weeks ago. Saw the last of the Summer’s corn at a table and began filling my bag. Alongside me was an older gentleman pulling the tops down on each ear, grumbling, and moving on. Yes, there was some damage at the ends – that mushy stuff that comes from some type of worm – and he pointed it out to me, a cautionary hint. “Look” he said, opening an ear to show me. “Be careful.”
“It’s okay with me,” I replied. “I can just cut it off.”
“Oh,” he said. I considered launching into a local food/non-GMO corn tirade, but I decided against it. I paid for my corn and left.
This exchange came back to mind later that evening, as my children stood before the compost pile, peeling that same corn and squealing (except, of course, the six-year-old boy) about the worms in the tops of the ears. They stood as if posed for a photograph on three little stair steps. It was a precious moment. This made me think more about my decision to purchase the corn with live worms in it, instead of corn from the supermarket, where the worms (if the chemicals didn’t off them) are long dead from the process of transport, chilling, stocking, and sitting.
Somewhere I have read, “I want to eat what the bugs want to eat.” I agree with this sentiment, this emphasis on the natural. Truly, have we decided to sterilize the entire world? To not notice that things are born and die? That bugs and worms and the creepy crawly things helps us eat? That they, in fact, make it possible for us to exist at all?
Must we clean everything up? I’m just as big a fan of Clorox wipes and my Swiffer as anyone, but maybe I’m not looking at the big picture. We hide the sick and the dying, anything not suitable for family television. This affects more than how we thing about our food supply. This sterile attitude has permeated our entire society.
What are the implications? Well, the answer, my friends, is karma. If you poison your food to eliminate worms, then you eat poisoned food. If you poison your water for greater “purity” or a brighter smile, then you drink poisoned water. It’s cause and effect: you don’t let go of the glass goblet without expecting it to plunge to the floor. And you cannot – CANNOT – turn a blind eye to these relationships, to these errors we are making. When we demand perfection from nature, we end up living in an artificial and toxic world of our own design.
Today, right now, take a moment to embrace what is, especially yourself, with all the imperfections of your humanity. Visit a farmer’s market soon and support the fall harvest; take a second look at the imperfect squash and the slightly blemished apple; consider what really matters, and what does not.