Day 234 Secret Lives of Food

July 31, 2015

(If we live with an open and grateful attitude, every day will bring a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)

My mother always told me to eat my veggies—that they would help me grow— but she did not tell me about their other lives. I would learn this later from a man who showed me the intimate essence of vegetables (and fruit). He presented a green pepper, naked, light entwining the curves of its body. My eyes savored a journey over a smooth green landscape and discovered subtle nuances beyond the surface. Sensuous rhythms pulsed in me as I imagined a tactile gliding, encircling the rise and fall of the skin. I discovered how light licked undulating curves and how shadows slid silently into folds. 

With his black and white photograph of a green pepper, photographer Edward Weston awakened my senses and led me to feast on possibilities of experience. If an ordinary green pepper can offer itself as sumptuous, both as food and sensory experience, what can other ordinary things offer? I began to go beyond looking and to relish seeing as a sensual experience. Ever since I saw Weston’s erotic green pepper photograph, I have never taken any vegetable (or fruit) for granted and I have never looked at a green pepper in the same way. This union of vision and desire gave birth to a new way of seeing and experiencing life in multiple layers. Veggies and fruit are delicious love affairs. 

Today I understood when David came home from the grocery store with a very special peach.  

My gift today is a horny peach.

Edward Weston’s Pepper No. 30, 1927:

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Day 233 Melting Moment

July 30, 2015

(If you are open to receiving it, every day brings a gift. This is one of 365 gifts during the year I turned 70.)

“Come, look—quick!” I was on the phone but David insisted that I look at the light glow outside our house, right before the sun would sink below the horizon. I knew it would last for only a few seconds longer but I ran to get my camera and caught the light just as it was dropping over the edge. There was no time to get a perfect magic photo but the feeling of the moment seeped into my mind and stroked it. The red geranium and my new red Yaris were glowing vibrantly while a unicorn in the flower box was soaking in the joy of the glow. 

This is the time of the day when, for a few seconds, the sun seems to stand still and time is suspended for an infinite moment. Shades of red melt and touch everything within sight, creating a fleeting radiance. For a few seconds, time holds a knowing beyond thought and reason, a knowing that you cannot go back and that before you give in to the darkness, you must breathe the magic light of today. It is this breath that lights your spirit and gives it a glow that sustains you.

We call it dusk but that word does not do the feeling justice. The sun is setting but that phrase does not work either because “setting” suggests an ending and, to me, this time of the day suggests a beginning that touches everything that will come tomorrow.

My gift today is a momentary glow.

> Day 234: Secret Lives of Food

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Day 232 Carnivore

July 29, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)

As I started to leave my house today, I noticed something green on my black wrought iron railing—a praying mantis was swaying back and forth in a strange dance. I have read that this swaying could be related to crypsis, an attempt to mimic wind-blown foliage. It is also possible that the repetitive movement helps the mantis to discriminate objects from the background. 

Excited about possibly getting some good photos, I turned around to run back into the house and grab my Nikon with a macro lens. Returning outside, I looked through the viewfinder as I neared the insect only to discover gray fog. Condensation! From cool inside to hot, humid outside created an impossible shooting situation as I was trying to capture nature. As soon as I wiped the condensation off the lens and positioned the camera, it had fogged up once again. 

I watched as the mantis jumped from the railing to the concrete and studied some ants that were running around nearby. I actually saw one ant race unexpectedly across the body of its enemy. However, a few seconds after that, with lightning speed (30-50 thousandths of a second), the mantis grabbed another ant, held it tight in its raptorial legs, and began munching on it. All the time during this great drama, I could not keep my lens unfogged long enough to take good quality photos. 

Regardless of a foggy lens, I felt lucky to have witnessed this reality show three feet from my front door.

My gift today is praying mantis drama.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here:

Day 231 Coming Home

July 28, 2015

(This is part of a 365 project during my 70th year where I write and illustrate a blog on each day’s gift.)

Coming home always means a greeting of some kind. When she was alive, Misty the German shepherd named by our daughter, always greeted me excitedly at the top of the steps in our split-level house. Now she is gone and we have a cat named by my father. Misty the cat also greets us at the top of the stairs in the same spot as her canine predecessor. She does not wag her tail but, instead, displays a look that says, “Why are you so late? You humans need to feed me—like NOW.”

Actually, there is life greeting me even before I unlock the front door. My resident spider does no wagging or scolding but dances from spot to spot in her messy tangle web. When I go up the outside concrete steps, I stop and check out my spider’s pantry. Today I noticed two sandwich wraps, future meals. Halfway up the steps, I sat down and aimed my camera with its macro lens toward what I thought was a leggy nondescript spider. However, when I zoomed in, I was amazed at the spider’s beauty. Its long legs were either aqua or reflected bluish-green from its surroundings. The body wore a symmetrical design with blacks, whites, yellows, oranges and a blue center ellipse. 

I am glad I stopped to look. Sometimes beauty is revealed only when I look very closely at things that first appear to be ordinary. 

My gift today is hidden beauty revealed.
You can find links to my other posts on this project here: