Sometimes the beige colored stone shoots right out like an arrow, hitting the side of the bowl with a loud ding. The sound reminding me of a plug of chewing tobacco spat into an old, brass spittoon.
Then other times the pit gets hung up on the soft, fleshy, cherry and I pull it out. But my absolute, personal favorites are the times I can pluck the cherry-stone, stem and all, in one clean move.
As time wore on, I sat outdoors, pondering and pitting these bright red, sour cherries. This simple homesteading task gave me time for quiet thought and room for reflection. For each stone I popped from the crimson fruit, it seemed as though a new thought popped into my brain. What’s the next step in life for me, I wondered. Am I doing right, right now? How am I sure?
I even thought a little bit about happiness. And a particular thought broke through the constant clatter of my brain. Wondering to myself, I said, “Benjamin am I happy or am I just complacent?”
Then and there, in that split-second, I struck a chord within my soul. And I hit that sensitive, introspective spot where I suddenly felt my stomach drop out, like I was speeding downward on a roller-coaster. I decided to give meditation to the idea, looking to gain insight from somewhere. But where, I thought.
I reached into the basket, grabbing a handful of fruit and lining up cherry after cherry in the handheld pitter, stem divet upward. Then in a seconds-long process, I squeeze crosswise between my thumb and index fingers. Feeling a momentary pressure build in the cherry, then a quick release, as the flesh gives and out comes the stone.
In the same manner in which I release each imprisoned stone from the cherry; perhaps I need to emancipate this train of thought and give it life by thinking it out.
So I thought. Thought hard. Deciding, basically, that not wanting to improve is complacency. Contently believing life is A-OK, living status quo. Nothing more to be achieved nothing more to be gained. No setting standards higher or attaining grander goals.
So then what is happiness, I thought, looking down at the large amount of pits collected in the bowl. Poking at the stones, and saying to myself, I guess happiness is loving, knowing and understanding life is a work in progress. And if you’re already a life “expert,” then you’re doing it all wrong. In fact, it’s so easy. So easy; to become complacent and just accept life as it is. Believing it cannot get any better than this.
So there. I had it boiled down. I had my personal definitions of complacency and happiness. Just then a cherry pit went flying from the hand pitter, ricocheting off the side of the Pyrex bowl. I smirked, but pulled myself back on to topic, and said to myself, based on those definitions where do I stand?
Considering the fact that If I were complacent then I probably wouldn’t want to make improvements to my 1925 bungalow, have plans to turn my front yard into, well basically, a farm, or ideas about seeing the world, meeting new people, sharing experiences. These are not the ideals of status quo follower. I’m stronger than that, we’re all stronger than that.
Eventually, I felt some general relief. Me, I thought, well, I have a desire to be better. I know I can do some incredible things, but I bet I could do them even better. I, like you, want to change our world. I want to dream bigger, I want us to dream bigger, even change the dream, I want to keep wondering, keep wandering.
By now there was only one little cherry contently sitting in the corner of the basket. You know what? That little cherry was perfect. Bright red, round and firm. Just sitting there smugly.
What a great little metaphor, I thought. Because, none of us should be idly sitting in the corner, there’s too much to improve.