The Universe in a Zucchini

After the morning fog cleared during my meditation, I went out to the backyard to enjoy breakfast in the crisp sunshine. I’ve been practicing mindfulness for some time now and lately it’s begun to wash over me independent of my breath-by-breath coaxing. Slowly, I ate a bite of oatmeal, savoring its creamy texture and innate sweetness. I took in a few slices of steamed zucchini, put down the spoon and chewed, eyes closed, facing the sun.

Opening my eyes, I peered into the bowl. The squash was such a soft green, so pretty. I looked closer and observed that the cross-section of zucchini contained the tiniest traces of concentric rings, from the dark skin to the pale, lime-colored core. It struck me as a miniscule version of one of those giant sections of Sequoia redwood. The ones where little Ranger arrows point to the rings in time when Columbus reached the New World or Christ was born. I’m not a botanist, but I’m guessing that the rings of both sort are cellulose, the fibers that scientists say are so good for us. But for the moment, I wasn’t concerned about nutrition. I was, rather, spellbound by my discovery. It was as if I were seeing a zucchini for the first time and I could not have been more entranced.

Gazing closer still, I noticed that the slices nearest the center displayed a different pattern. Embedded in each were minute fronds swirling outward from the heart like spokes, curving delicately around, each coming to rest in a cluster of seeds the size of doll’s tears. I held a slice of my breakfast up to the sunlight and every detail was revealed with dazzling clarity. The elegance and artistry in this one serving of god’s universe left me giddy with awe. By then, I could no more finish breakfast than I could apply fork and knife to a canvas by Monet.