Eating The Watermelon

Last summer I grew a garden of earthly delight and one of the jewels of this garden was my watermelon plant. I’d started from seed in the greenhouse and the first one didn’t germinate and so I started again, setting my growing schedule back by a few weeks.  This new plant was strong and healthy and I transplanted it to the garden. 

In the garden I treated it as queen. I set it under hoops of reemay (a light white cloth that allows in sun and rain) to give it extra warmth and keep the bugs at bay. I pinched back flowers and then as it began to bear fruit I pinched back fruit and some leaf to help the plant concentrate its energies on the most promising melons.

The plant was growing across black plastic and as summer wore on and my little melons matured I’d push the leaves aside to make sure the fruit had all the sun they needed and then I’d find flat rocks or other surfaces to lift the melons up bringing them a little closer to the sun in hopes of encouraging ripening.  Some of my labors may have been unnecessary mothering, but I couldn’t help myself.

Come early fall when they still weren’t ripe I started covering them in blankets on the cool nights, to keep them from getting a chill and to not let even the lightest frost take them.  Finally, the cold air became persistent and I had to pick them, ripe or not.  There were only three in the running for ripe.  I left one with friends and one with my sister and I took the third with me to a long weekend of silent retreat at Rolling Meadows Farm in Maine.  When I got there I offered it as a gift to my teachers, Patricia and Surya.

A few days into our silence Patricia opened the watermelon with its thick green rind and left slices of red fruit on a plate for our small group to eat as an afternoon snack. I picked up a slice and stood over the sink, looking out at the gardens and sheep in the distance, and I ate. I ate the thick juicy red flesh. Some seeds I ate and some I spit into the sink. I chewed on the inside of the green rind and I licked my arms covered in melon juice. And then I took the rinds and placed them in the compost bin to join the earth again.

The melon was gone. Or was I gone? In the eating I knew that watermelon and I had not just joined, we had never known our existence apart. As much as I facilitated the melons existence and its demise, the melon had facilitated all of this in me as well; my birth, life, and death were as much a result of this melon as this melon was a result of me. And when I say “me” or I say “melon” I speak also of sun, rain, air, dirt, compost, work, plastic, rock, particle, atom, bird, planet, dog, and bark.

Whatever ideas I still clung to about myself as separate or linear or progressing or form or formlessness ended in that moment of juicy melon in my mouth.  Oh the ideas continue to be born, live, and die in me, but no longer do they hold me as they used to. When I find them in my mouth I spit them out like watermelon seeds.

What are you holding in your mouth?

This post is part of the series Planting the Seeds of Listening and includes the post What is Most Important?Marrying the Heart, and What Am I?


Photograph by Kumon.
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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Marlene May 28, 2010 at 3:55 pm

Lovely post, Jasmine. I loved hearing of all the TLC you showered on the watermelon, and your insight after savoring, and devouring, the fruit. Reminded me of how the bible uses “fruits” as a metaphor: “you shall know me by my fruits”.

Also thank you for bringing my attention to Rolling Meadows. Sounds like a place i would like. I forget if i told you i am a yoga teacher. I am also now interested in the Springwater Center.

Planted the seeds yesterday! Will keep you posted on their progress.
Thanks for your thoughtful inspiration.


Jasmine Lamb May 28, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Thanks, Marlene. I sure hope the seeds sprout!

Rolling Meadows feels like a home to me. I did my yoga teacher training with Patricia and Surya. There is a spirit of openness and inquiry (and delicious food) that is really special there.

I’ve not yet visited the Springwater Center, but I’ve read much of Toni Packer’s writing and it is dear to my heart. I’m hoping to visit the center soon.


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