Good avocados and good books


Last updated 12/13/2022 at Noon

What do avocados and books have in common? Slicing into an avocado is like opening a book. Sometimes, I know from the first page a book is going to feed me — take me away to another time, culture, or place. A good book gives me refreshed eyes to see the world, and often a new tongue to taste it.

Some avocados look and feel good from the outside, but sliding the knife into the bumpy skin, I feel a squishy give that tells me it might be rotten.

I slide the blade along the other side, pull it out and pry open the fruit.

There it is… a cracked seed and two halves veined with splotches of dark brown ugliness.

It’s not a good one.

I smell it to see if it’s even worth a reincarnation into guacamole, hoping picante salsa and cumin will save it.

When they’re past their prime, all they’re good for is compost.

It hurts throwing away an avocado.

I know how amazingly delicious they can be when the insides are green, ripe, and ready.

I remember the time it took and the resources required to nurture the trees.

Many people I’ll never know worked with skilled hands in the rows of fruit.

Then others helped transport them to our chilly northwestern home.

Books are the same. Sometimes, there’s nothing I can do but close the crackling spine and put it in the stack of books I’ll donate to Habitat. I don’t want to dishonor the author by allowing their work to sit on a shelf never read and gathering dust. For me the voice is stale and unpalatable, but someone else might find it nourishing and full of possibilities. The book will have a second chance to reach a willing mind, and the avocado will eventually nourish the soil and help grow something new.

I often look at the row of unread books in the bookshelf next to my side of the bed.

There are all kinds to choose from.

Some are purely entertainment, others feed my soul or stretch my understanding of other people’s lives.

I pick one up, open the cover and read the forward, and if I’m still hungry, the first page.

When intrigued and interested in hearing more, I read until my eyes are tired and full to the brim with someone else’s words.

I feel equal measures of admiration and unworthiness.

The unsure side of me says, “I could never write something like that.

How did they do it?” Oops! Don’t let that voice in.

I tell it to go away.

I remind myself it’s much better to appreciate and acknowledge artistry whether it’s writing or cooking and then reassure myself we all have gifts to give.

Something well done should inspire not diminish aspirations.

Picking a good avocado or a good book bring rewards and sustenance. The words I ingest and believe will either nurture or bring confusion, calling me to look further and discover the truth as best I can. Choosing what I read and believe is an on-going walk down a road that forks, has potholes, and sometimes dead ends. I hear directions in my head; sometimes they’re from family, or friends, or my husband. I’ve learned it’s best to give my voice the last word while still listening to other suggestions and ideas. Then the rewards received from reaching toward and investing in new ideas and recipes is mine to celebrate.

Last night we had baked potatoes with guacamole, spices, and Sakari Farm hot sauce.

The three avocados I bought from Oliver Lemon’s a few days before went from green, hard, and inedible to dark, soft, and full of promise.

I put them in the fridge and later took one out for our dinner.

There was a small indentation on one side.

I wasn’t sure what I’d find when I sliced into the fruit.

But the fear was unfounded.

The succulent, green interior was perfect.

I tapped a sharp knife into the seed and gently squeezed the nestled seed in until it easily popped out.

After adding taco seasonings, lemon juice, and salt and pepper, I smooshed it all with a large fork.

Such a satisfying ending to a bit of work and unpredictability.

Avocados and books will continue to be some of my favorite things. As the holidays continue and I get ready for my husband’s office party, I’ll remember to give thanks for the blessings we enjoy whether they come in thick

skin or soft covers. There will always be new stories and ideas to discover and new recipes to take my favorite fruit in a new direction. I’ll keep cracking open new books and avocados, doing my best to remember to be grateful every time.


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