Summer Ratatouille: Savoring the Season

As I sit in the Labor Day beach traffic anxiously waiting to arrive at my sandy destination as a final attempt to catch that last wave of summer fun, I reflect on this summer’s adventures. Family bbq’s, beach vacations, crab feasts, long bike rides, hiking with my fur-family, leisurely weekends laying on the hammock and engulfing light reading, and the succulence of my summer garden. This year my garden was filled with the expansive array of colors and textures of tomatoes, carrots, beets, zucchini, squash, green beans, peppers, peas and strawberries. Little compares to sinking your teeth into a freshly plucked tomato straight from the vine, or the smell of aromatic herbs of oregano, thyme, basil and rosemary as they rise from the wet, warm earth during a summer shower. As the season comes to an end, the vines begin to wither and summer quickly becomes a memory fading green to yellow to brown in the autumn breeze. The sunflowers once bursting yellow and bobbing in the breeze now brown and wilted bow gently following a stellar performance as the summer curtain closes. I am not ready to release the sweet surrender of summer and I decide that when I return home, I will take the remnants of summer and create a ratatouille filled with the harvest that remains so that I might savor the season for a bit longer.

Savoring and Connectedness

According to Webster’s dictionary, to savor is to “taste or smell with pleasure; to delight in; to relish; to like; to favor”. Princeton’s Wordnet invites that one “taste appreciatively” when savoring. Therefore, savoring appears to require active engagement in the relationship between a person and her object of appreciation. Thus, savoring is about connecting fully. Jon Kabat-Zinn, in his book titled Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness, wrote “at its core, mindfulness is about relationality.” It is about connecting with the experience at hand be it a conversation with a friend, sharing a meal with family, or appreciating the end of a beautiful summer. Further, it is in this connectedness that we experience the moment long after it has faded away.