Eating with the fullest pleasure--pleasure, that is, that does not depend on ignorance--is perhaps the profoundest enactment of our connection with the world. In this pleasure we experience and celebrate our dependence and our gratitude, for we are living from mystery, from creatures we did not make and powers we cannot comprehend.
In the middle of your independence celebration weekend, take a moment to reflect on how dependent you are. And how that's not such a bad thing.
Consider the strawberry, a classic food to enjoy on the 4th of July for obvious reasons: they're seasonal, sweet and delicious, and they're red. But they didn't just appear out of nowhere. First, someone had to grow them. And from there springs a net of dependancies we seldom consider.
First, for simplicity's sake, let's just say the strawberries are organic (thus forgoing an exploration of the long chain of dependency on fossil fuel.) To enjoy a handful of strawberries, we rely on many things.
Requirements for Planting and Growing Strawberries: A farmer, farm employees, the right amount of sun and rain and temperature, fertile soil, seasons--the entire, enormous system of the natural world, in fact, with it's infinite and complex layers of interdependencies. Also, possibly, are machines for cultivation, planting, weeding, and all that they are dependent on to exist and be maintained.
But specifically, the farmer: Another dependent event too complex to fully explore but here's a start--air, water, food, shelter, clothing, tools, knowledge, health, capital, assistance, neighbors, friends and family.
Or the truck that brings them from the farmer: good roads and properly built bridges, relatively cheap fossil fuels, working traffic lights and a social contract to follow them. And the people who made the truck and all that they were dependent on, and the system that delivered the fuel and all it's dependent on, and the driver of the truck and all the circles of dependancy that come from her life.
I could go on: the grocery store or farmer's market, your own method of transportation, the little container that holds the strawberries...but perhaps you get the picture by now.
Name one thing that isn't in relationship with something else. Find one aspect of your life, for better or worse, that stands alone and isolated. Impossible. Fact is, we are deeply, profoundly dependent at every level of existence. Now that's something to celebrate.
(Image: Dana Velden)