Corn on the cob
It seems to me that people need some kind of celebration to ‘touch base’ with the passing seasons and years. It may be Christmas or Ramadan or Passover or birthdays or the start of the school year, but we each have marker points. I see these as opportunities to connect with something larger than ourselves. Whether that connection is religiously defined or simply acknowledging the cycle of life and the passage of time the human psyche seems to need those moments.
For me, making a connection with the Divine at these marker points is often about taking stock of where I am at this moment. Of course there is the ‘Where am I in my life?’ question, but I mean that in a more visceral sense as well. What is the weather like? How am I feeling? Sort of a where am I in relationship with the planet, or at least my little corner ofit?
That’s where I get to corn on the cob. About 20 years ago I recognized that my summers rushed passed so fast I seemed to miss them. I didn’t have the “summer break” advantage of time slowing down (and speeding up) and vacations with little kids were fun, but not vacations at all. So I decided that I would only eat local corn.
For all the bad rap that corn and corn syrup have taken in the past few years there is nothing like eating fresh corn on the cob. I live in Minnesota, so the local season is short and very specifically the corn comes in at the height of summer. When I really think about the difference in taste between local fresh corn on the cob and any other corn that might be available to me throughout the year it’s not a huge sacrifice.
This small decision makes such a big difference to me in terms of awareness. I have a greater sense of what’s happening in my local farming communities. I look at summer weather not just for my convenience but in terms of the crops. I recognize that summer must be here when corn starts showing up in the supermarkets, but local corn truly marks the middle of the season. The anticipation and awareness just make the corn even tastier when I do get it.
I will admit to having gone on a month long corn on the cob binge once or twice over the past 20 years. As I’ve gotten older I’ve learned that I can appreciate the bounty of the local harvest without going overboard. Ultimately that is what this marker point brings to my attention. An appreciation and a gratitude for the bounty of the harvest close to home.
So this week I am grateful for corn on the cob. I know the extreme heat and rain that we’ve had this season has affected the crop. The ears are smaller than they’ve been in years in the past and not quite as sweet and juicy. There is still nothing like fresh corn and I’m looking forward to a few more meals of it before the season ends.