As the harvest and activity on the farm slows, I find myself reflecting on the season and the food we grow. As we dig the sweet potatoes from the field and lay them in the greenhouse for their required several weeks of curing, I notice their unique delicate curves. As we harvest swiss chard I am intrigued by the different hues of their myriad of colors. As we harvest the brussel sprouts and cabbage I am mystified by the careful layering of each leaf over the other as if a parent were layering blankets on their child in bed. As I prepare winter squash for roasting in the oven, the beautiful orange flesh seems to cuddle next season's seeds in a pouch of safety.
Is there true beauty in all of this or am I just like a proud parent having spent so much time and focus to grow these crops over the last six months? In college I read Plato and other philosophers on beauty. The age old question of the nature of beauty returns again. Is beauty just in the eye of the beholder, or is it something innate in the nature of being of the object?
I center my mind and tell myself to get out of the academic/theoretical pursuits and get
back into the real world of putting food on the table. Yet, I keep going back to the
romanesco field to see if they are almost mature before the frigid weather settles in. In the few small heads I cannot help but lose myself in its fractals in which each part of the romanesco can be broken out and in that part we find an image of the whole romanesco from which it originated. To be a self-reflective image of your originator could be taken spiritually. It is in this contemplative state that the natural beauty of the food that we eat can lead us to find the beauty within ourselves and it is in finding this beauty that we then find our true place in this world.
The practical, theoretical and spiritual are often separated in modern times. Yet, perhaps we would be better off returning to our ancient philosophers- continually asking the age old questions that lead us to contemplation which can lead us to peace in our days.
I love romanesco and hope it is ready soon.