February 10, 2006

Zen And The Art Of Juicing

A friend gave me a juicer last weekend, so I bought two bags of carrots. I love carrot juice. It makes sense. I have finished putting away the groceries and left the bags of carrots on the counter. After assembling the machine I am pleased to see that the carrots have already been peeled. It’s strange; I hated carrot juice until I moved to Africa. Don’t be confused, Mozambique is not the land of carrot juice by any means; in fact I never once saw carrot juice there. Sure there were carrots but the means to extract the juice was a luxury we weren’t afforded. For some reason during my stay there, my body or maybe it was my mind began to crave the orange nectar. So as soon as I returned, I occasionally enjoyed an ice-cold glass of carrot juice.

Back to the kitchen: The appliance is plugged in, the spears have been quartered, a small glass sits patiently waiting for the liquid. I will juice all the carrots and put the juice in a large pitcher to be enjoyed in the next couple of days. Four carrots later, I have half a glass. I am annoyed. I have already made quite a mess. Orange shavings litter the counter and the machine looks difficult to clean. My mind races: life is fast, convenient, make in bulk, prepare for the future, efficiency, this is a waste of time, I have to laboriously clean this whole thing and for what? A tiny glass of juice. This sucks, why have I done this, I am in a hurry to do my next task, I don’t know what that is, I seldom do, I want to finish so I can start, start, start something else, what happened to now? Another three carrots evaporate leaving the glass brimming with froth and a receptacle filled with not-carrot. Everything is orange.

My eyes are closed. The juice is warm but somehow cool like soil beyond the reach of the sun. I can taste the worms, small rocks, burrowing moles, onion bulbs, the earth. Before I know it, the juice is gone. Liking my lips, I savor the taste. It is perfect. Nothing has ever tastes so real, so right, so honest.

I walk to the sink and begin to wash the machine. Slowly. My mind unhurried: so what if I have to wash all this stuff, I have nothing else to do, if I am opposed to fast food nation I must make my own juice. I am half way done. It seems simple, why was I so anxious. I don’t need to juice in bulk. I will make a nice glass of juice whenever I crave it and then I’ll wash my tools. Leisurely. Maybe next time I will add some apples, maybe a bit of cinnamon. The possibilities are endless.

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