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Archive for April, 2010

Kitchen Connection

image source: livingetc.com

Do you have a favorite kitchen knife? I do, and it’s elegant, slightly angular and very effective. In fact, my husband has one too. It’s massive, heavy and almost as handy as a tool. Honestly, his knife is quite scary, but it does the job. It’s great for cutting meats and, it even brings back “fond” memories for my husband.

A few days ago, inspired by our kitchen knives, we conversed while preparing to grill.

“I must have been a butcher in my last life,” said my husband enthusiastically, while chucking chunks of raw chicken into a large marination bowl.

I chopped herbs and garlic for the marinade, and our chicken was ready for the grill. While waiting for the meat to cook, I mused over the sharpness and versatility of our knives.

Kitchen knives can get so much done! They’re easy to clean and don’t occupy much counter space either. I believe I’d met someone who shared similar traits–efficient, not fussy and very versatile. Indeed, it was a former guest. She was visiting from out of town. She stayed with us for a couple of days but you wouldn’t know. We hardly felt her presence. She never demanded anything and always tried to help around. When she noticed we were out of milk, she would bring us some. When we pleaded with her to get some rest, she would say, “I’m never tired.” Her qualities were manifold. Of course now she isn’t around. She’s moved to another country. Maybe those who meet her there could imbibe some of her nobility.

While here at home in Arizona, it’s back to our kitchen and our no-fuss kitchen knives.

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Bougainvillea

My husband and I often wondered about our very young Bougainvillea plant. “Is it dead or alive?” or “Does it need more water?” We could never figure it out until one winter morning when my mother-in-law, who was visiting, decided to see for herself. She had always been great with plants and took to gardening and smartening-up our backyard during her stay, which was much needed!

That winter morning the Bougainvillea caught her attention, and she walked over to inspect the plant. It was dry, leafless and without a sign of life. She decided it was dead and with her gloved hands, she tugged at it hard so as to weed it out. Inside the house, we were clueless about the happenings until she walked in puffing slightly, “I’ve finally uprooted that dead plant!”

We told her she shouldn’t have exerted herself and could have called for our help, but she was quite satisfied with the accomplishment and so were we. We went out to see our backyard all neat and tidy. The Bougainvillea seemed to hold together despite being uprooted, and we left it there for weeks not bothering to trash the plant. Months passed, my in-laws were long gone, and our backyard became a mess–a dwarf orange tree in much need of nutrition, a baby saguaro needing transplanting, two potted rose bushes needing water and a lemon grass plant growing out of control. The winter grass needed care too, and of course the Bougainvillea mess had to go. We decided it was time to sort things out in the backyard and began the long but satisfying process. Soon, our backyard came alive with color. The last thing left was cleaning up the bougaenvilea.

As we approached the plant, we noticed some green. Looking more closely, we even saw a fluorescent pink flower or two. “How did this plant survive being uprooted, not watered and neglected for months,” I though to myself. “This is crazy!” But the evidence was there before us. The Bougainvillea was alive and flowering! So we decided to let it be.

Soon, summer was upon us. The desert sun shone brightly through the clear blue skies, and the bougaenvilea thrived under its relentless watch. As I observed the blooming plant, I remembered an advice I’d almost forgotten, “Nature has much to teach us.”

Despite all the neglect, the Bougainvillea came through strong, and despite the desert heat, it gave us flowers, adding bright hues to an otherwise sandy desert palette. How many of us can survive being scorned or neglected by friends? And despite that, how many of us can resist anger or depression and develop our personalities well, so society is benefitted? The answer isn’t important, but the lesson is.

Nature teaches us strength and survival. If our roots are deep like the Bougainvillea, we too can bloom into beautiful human beings. If we strengthen the roots of our hearts and listen to our spirits, then no matter what calamity befalls, it does not affect us. We remain content within ourselves always.

“Weapons cannot cleave it, nor fire consume it, nor water drench it, nor wind dry it.”

This is the quality of our spirit, and perhaps we can imbibe it by observing the omnipresent miracles of nature.

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