The Gift of A Bowl of Corn
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There in the middle of our dining room table sat a bowl of sweet corn. It was a special bowl of sweet corn, but not because of how it was served—perfectly plump kernels filling my great-grandma’s pink and white flowered china bowl with the muted gold, delicately painted edge.
No, this corn was special simply because we had grown it.
The corn was from our field.
We were sitting down to enjoy a bowl of corn that had grown from seeds we’d planted in dirt we had tilled, corn from stalks we’d walked among to check and admire and pull weeds, corn taken from the husks—so many husks—we’d plucked from the stalks late in our first August on our farm.
This bowl of corn was a big deal.
The things you make and grow and raise are important.
When you’re starting out on a farm, the things you accomplish are a big deal. You’re so excited to eat that first ear of corn you planted by hand.
That first tomato you grew from seed you’d saved from the year before.
That first egg left in the nesting boxes you built.
That first shelf in the basement lined up with jar upon jar of your home canned treasures.
And you find that you’re pretty darn pleased with yourself.
But after a while, the excitement fades and it’s hard to think of anything that you’re doing as a big deal anymore.
We go from celebrating a hen’s first egg by plastering pictures all over Instagram, to wanting anything but the 22 dozen eggs you’re trying to find homes for. We are surrounded by the blessing of homegrown meat, potatoes and vegetables, and yet find ourselves with an unrelenting craving for boxed macaroni and cheese and frozen pizza.
Trust me. It happens.
Ask me how I know.
We’re guilty of forgetting the things we make and do and raise.
We are a strange breed, us humans. We want something so badly, and when we get it, we forget how much we once wanted it. Once it becomes our normal, we forget how big of a deal it once was to get it.
I am so guilty of this.
I’m guilty of forgetting my good fortune.
I’m guilty of taking for granted the things I can do now that we could never have done five or ten years ago.
I’m guilty of everything becoming normal in the sense that it creeps dangerously close to feeling inconsequential.
It’s as if the longer we have it, the harder it is to see it’s there.
I deny that anything about my life is remarkable or special until people say aren’t you the ones who butcher your own pigs? or it must be so cool to have your own egg supply! or oh my god, you raise turkeys? or I love coming to your farm because it’s so peaceful! and then suddenly I’m all Oh yeah. We are doing this.
We totally are.
We’re here and we are doing this.
So while it seems silly to call a bowl of corn a gift, it really is a gift.
It reminds me of what I’ve done.
What I’ve accomplished.
That I really did what I set out to do.
It’s a concrete representation that I’m here where I wanted to be.
What is your bowl of corn? What simple object reminds you of what you’ve done?
This post is part of a 14 day series, written across both sites that I run. Additional gifts will be linked below as they are posted over the next two weeks.
Gift #1 — The Gift of an Open Door
Gift #2 — The Gift of One of Those Days
Gift #3 —The Gift of a Dog’s Friendship
Gift #4 — The Gift of Mess
Gift #5 — The Gift of Our Silence
Gift #6 — The Gift of Routine
Gift #7 — The Gift of Community
Gift #8 — The Gift of Three Things Unsaid
Gift #9 — The Gift of Perspective
Gift #10 — The Gift of Being Real
Gift #11 — The Gift of a Bowl of Corn