I would have thought

that having something to focus on, each bite taken during a meal with its combination of flavors and textures, would keep me centered in the present moment… but no. Up until now, having food in my mouth has been a signal for me to zone out. My mind took off on its own tangent, banging itself against the wall about work and all the changes and uncertainty going on for most of breakfast. I caught myself, though. I decided to think instead about where the different parts of the peanut butter, banana, and cranberry sandwich had come from. This was the last of the bananas, so I’ll be eating something else for breakfast until I buy more. I thought of a banana tree somewhere down in South America, of cranberries growing in a bog, and of the valencia peanuts ground up to make the organic peanut butter. I realized I didn’t know what kind of plant produces peanuts. I thought of the bakery that makes Dave’s Killer Bread in Milwaukie, Oregon, and noted some sesame seeds that had dropped out of the bread onto my plate. I had no idea what kind of plant sesame seeds grow on, either!

Not only do I inhale my food without being aware of it while my mind obsesses about all the things I can’t control, I don’t even know where a lot of that food comes from! It seems somehow disrespectful. I went online and discovered that sesame seeds grow on a tall stalk with tubular flowers that look like foxglove. The seed pods look a little like okra. The seeds I was eating probably came from Texas. The valencia peanuts grow on a bush that has yellow, self-pollinating flowers that send a stalk underground, where the pod grows. Most valencia peanuts are grown in New Mexico. Interesting and a bit disconcerting to reflect on how much travel and how much petroleum went into making that simple breakfast sandwich!

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