Thursday, October 20, 2011

Abundance; Wealth

Back in the eighties and nineties, I had a friend who was fairly hung up on the idea of “abundance,” or “wealth.” She devoured all those New Agey books on the subject—you know—the ones that say that we are all wealthy by our very God-natures, and if you really, truly believe you are wealthy, believe that you already are wealthy, and you believe it so much that you act like you are wealthy, then you will become wealthy.

There are a lot of problems with the circular reasoning in this scheme; the magic doesn’t “work” until you fully believe you are wealthy, and if you fully believe you are wealthy, then that’s that—mission accomplished! The problem, and the magic, is that wealth is a state of mind; it’s not a number.

Now, I’m not going to get into actual economics here—they are bleak for most people in the world, as the super-rich become ever more so, and the middle class drifts into peasantry. And yes, those doggone Wall Street financiers who crippled our economy should go to prison—or pay the amount of the bailout. But today I’m not talking about our ability to pay for the things we need.

What I’m talking about is the feeling of wealth, the sense of abundance.

It’s something I’ve felt since we returned from Ohio, and it’s something I see on Facebook when my friends share pictures of their tomato harvest (Rhoda!) or mention the quantity of fresh basil they harvested (Ginny!).

In Ohio, we visited Burnham Orchards, in Berlin Heights, famous for its fresh produce, which, in the fall . . . means apples!

You might remember me talking about “Lutheran Apples” last year about this time; well, because of storm damage to the Lexington/Waverly–area orchards (that area got a tornado the same day that Joplin got zapped), the local Lutherans’ annual fund-raiser sale of apples wasn’t held this year. So my folks didn’t buy ten million apples this fall and share ’em with us.

So this year, Sue and I turned the tables when we were at Burnham’s and purchased a half-bushel each of three different apples—golden delicious, Jonathan, and Cortland. And then we split them with my folks. It felt great to send them home with a big bunch of apples!

Oh yeah: Applesauce, baked apples, apple oat bran muffins, fried apples, apples in the stir-fries, apples in the salads, apples in the potatoes (Himmel und Erde!), apple fritters, apple dumplings, apple pancakes . . . joy!

Then also . . . while we were in Ohio, Sue’s sister and her family have a nice-sized planting of grapevines in their backyard. Concords! . . . And the vines were laden. Every time we raised a leaf, we saw a cluster of grapes.

Sue’s sister is recovering from a broken foot, so jelly-making is “out” for her this year. So she was saying to us, “Take all you want. Seriously! We’re not going to be using them. Here, let me get you some containers to put them in.”

Now, when we were in St. James, Missouri, a few weeks ago, we had bought some grapes at a roadside stand—I’d already measured, processed, and frozen them. It would be enough for about three pies. That should be enough till next fall.

So when Sue’s sister told us to pick as many as possible, my mind got to seesawing between thoughts like “how many times I’ve bought Concords at the store, and here she is, giving them away!” and all the ideas for what I can do with this windfall of lovely little purple globes: Grape pie, grape kuchen (traubenkuchen!), grape tart, grape preserves, grape jelly, grape muffins, grape pancake syrup . . .

So in addition to a bushel and a half of apples in our trunk, we also returned with more than a peck of fresh, beautiful Concords. You know how I feel about fruits; I adore them.

All the way home, the car smelled ambrosial!

. . . And I felt very wealthy, indeed.

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