Yesterday I made a big pot of soup –my favorite Hearty Hodgepodge. This is the perfect time of year for it, with all the produce from our garden. I picked tomatoes, zucchini, crook-necked yellow squash, cherry tomatoes, parsley and fresh basil to add to the pot. As I was rinsing off the cherry tomatoes, one of them escaped and rolled down the drain to the garbage disposal before I could reclaim it. I know it’s not a real Big Deal, but I Hate it when that happens. That little cherry tomato has been growing and ripening for days, putting all its energy into becoming something absolutely Perfect. Round. Red. Bite-sized. Delicious. And then it fell out of the colander and went down the hole, just like that. I couldn’t catch it in time. And because I had some idea of what was already down that dark hole, I didn’t go after it. I left it there, to die a gruesome death, ground and pulverized and mixed with other icky things, then swept away to places unmentionable. It was heart breaking. It Didn’t Get to Fill the Measure of its Creation.
THAT, to me is a Big Deal. It always Really Bothers me when something gets wasted before its time has come, or before its purpose is fulfilled. Or if something isn’t used completely up. Like a tissue that’s only half-blown in. I feel obligated to finish using it. Or like food on a plate. I can’t just wash it down the drain. Or just about any disposable thing that isn’t completely used. Like the extra napkins in the fast food bag.
My parents’ generation had the excuse that they “lived through the Depression” and so they could not waste things. I tell my kids that living in Africa for 4 years is equal to living through the Depression. I not only tell my kids to eat all their food “because there are starving children in Africa.” I tell them “eat your food because there are starving children in Africa, and I know their names.” But that is another story. For now, I am still feeling bad about the cherry tomato. I should have been more careful.