What We Grew

I wrote the original version of this poem in the spring of 2010. It still feels true. I added to it this morning, and I thought I would share it with you all. Because I like you guys. And it needed to be added to. Have such a good day.

*Original version published in the George-Anne

 

What We Grew

We wanted to grow

something beautiful in the backyard that spring.

Roses

were too perfect, something sweet

and red like roses,

but nourishing and dense

Tomatoes

were what we decided on, because

like us, tomatoes are full of blood.

That was all we knew about ourselves

and growing anything, so we questioned

the older neighbor couple on cultivation.

Impossible,

was their answer because the soil

is nothing but clay

and the climate is all wrong

and it’s not like it’s tomato season

anyway.

That was all we knew about the older

neighbor couple, and how they had those

fold-out tables leaning against matching

La-z-Boy chairs so they could eat their

meals in front of Survivor.

 

To never be like them,

is what we decided on.

 

Our tomatoes

are heavy with juice that bleeds

when we slice the skins

and rivers of nectar that fan along the wooden cutting

board

like limbs to a torso

pulling away as the pooling starts

to swirl with seeds.

The young puddles fill, some of them brackish

and silty as they channel and draw from the mouth

but others, how true of heart they are

how sweet and red they bleed

carving their way from each other,

cascade over counter side but

stretching their fingers and with them, bringing

source.

Where they learned how to be true of heart.

 

We eat our tomatoes like apples

and think how the fruit

is a protecting ovary that bends

the vine toward passing

creatures with promises of

soothed hunger pains.

So savory we can cut them

like pieces of meat alone

on a plate and call

it a side dish.

Our table

is too big for two;

we sit on opposite ends and study

how the other cuts, examines, consumes

what we’ve grown with earth

and water.

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“Life is not an Olive Garden commercial”-Megan Gala

My legs dangle over the edge of a boulder as I open up an avocado. I spoon out its meat and the dogs’ ears perk up. Sorry pups, you wouldn’t like this. They plop down in the dirt, taking rest. In front of me, the bright green hillside is surprising, because just a few weeks ago the same trees and grasses were brown, lifeless, so thirsty for rain.

The avocado skins are empty now, and I feel like I should bake them some cookies or send them a thank you note because they give me so much energy. The sun warms my belly as I lay back and shield my eyes with a forearm. I roll my head to the right and see the pups. They’re smiling, and I smile back.

It’s quiet out here. I haven’t seen or heard anyone else since I left the main trail a few hours ago. My only goal for the day of ‘getting way the hell out there’ has been achieved. I might even be a little lost.

I am alone. Just me. And the pups and the avocado. But really, I am alone.

And I like it.

Being by myself, in any sense of the word, has never been something that scares me. I love doing things alone. I used to think I was weird for this, that maybe my life should look more like one of those Olive Garden commercials. But the truth is that yeah, I have a very social side of who I am, but I also have a very shy, introverted side too. We all do. Expressing both of those sides is really okay.

And thank God life isn’t an Olive Garden commercial. That shit is ridiculous.

Goodness and love aren’t always big and boisterous like that. Sometimes, it is small and quiet.

Like this:

California wild poppy

I like Valentine’s Day. I always have. I think it’s a good thing that every year, after the craziness of the holidays and our New Year’s resolutions/hangovers have worn off, we are reminded to love.

Yeah, if you get swept up in the whole corporate side of Valentine’s Day then you’ll probably hate the day. If you get swept up in the corporate side of anything, you’ll probably hate most of your days.

For me, Valentine’s Day (and yoga) is a reminder that in every moment, we have two choices: the more loving choice, or the choice based off of fear and insecurities. Choosing love is hard, because it’s scary. But if you’re scared, it’s good, because it means you aren’t letting fear make your decision. Funny, huh?

This year in particular, I am reminded of the choice we have with the words we speak and the actions we do. We can choose to speak in a way that is loving to other people, by being honest with others but doing our best to not cause anyone sadness, and in a way that is loving to who we are, by becoming aware of when we are talking shit to ourselves.

Giving in to fear may not seem like such a bad thing at first. It is after all, usually the easier, less messy way to do things, because it is the way we are used to making choices. But at the end of the day, when you chose fear, you’re disrespecting other people and their feelings, and even worse, you are going against and lying to yourself. And that will definitely make you feel like shit about yourself, maybe immediately, but maybe some day years in the future after you’ve done this a million times.

That would be a pretty sad day.

The best way I know how to decipher between what is loving and what is fearful is by tapping into that “alone” state of mind. Not alone like curled up in your bed crying, fighting with yourself because you think being alone sucks, but the nourished version of your alone self, like after eating an avocado.

Like the grasses and trees after the rain finally came this season.

Love IS a choice, as dumb and cliche as that sounds. The truth is that it’s the most important choice you’ll make, in this moment and the next. Have every word you speak and every action you take be about creating more goodness. It might be goodness for yourself, it might be for someone else. But be honest. And have everything you speak and do align with what feels really true.

You might realize that ALL of your recent and not so recent words and actions have been based on fear, that they’ve been unauthentic. That’s alright. I know how you feel, and so does everyone else. Have tomorrow be about love–not the American, Hallmark greeting card, heart-shaped confetti and teddy bears kind of love, but the authentic, seeps into everything you do and say, ringing with truth kind of love.

Well, America does have one thing right about Valentine’s Day, and that is chocolate. You should definitely have some of that tomorrow. And every day.

It’s a choice. Be fearless. Love for love’s sake. It will make you super happy, no matter if you are with someone or alone.

Happy Valentine’s Day to all! xoxo