I spent a happy hour this morning wandering from stall to stall at the local farmers’ market, revelling in the abundance on display. At one stall, there are huge bunches of purple kale, bags filled with peppery arugula, and baskets full of Spanish onions and glossy red peppers. At another, I find fragrant bouquets of basil and cilantro, and fresh young bulbs of garlic, still tinged with pink. Some stalls display baskets of heirloom tomatoes, in shades from pale yellow to deep purple. Other stalls display oddly shaped late-summer squash, glowing deep shades of gold. And today, the first chanterelle mushrooms of the season, a sure sign that autumn is on its way.
I wander from stall to stall, breathing in the earth-fresh aromas of fresh produce and glorying in the beauty and abundance on display. I fill my bag slowly, choosing my tomatoes at one stall, my basil at another, and making sure that I stop to buy my arugula and peppers from the tousle-headed little boy who helps at his parents’ stall. He can’t be more than eight or nine, but he is responsible for weighing my produce, calculating the cost of each item, and adding up my total. Even if the arugula wasn’t so divine, I’d still buy something there.
I am tempted by everything I see: the just-picked beets and carrots, the fresh lettuce and chard, the enormous flat beans, an heirloom variety I haven’t seen anywhere else. Every stall for me is an exercise in discipline. I save for last my visit to the bread stall, choosing a chewy loaf of rosemary-flecked focaccia and a rounded loaf of multigrain that makes the perfect piece of toast. If these loaves last until tomorrow, it will be a surprise.
As I make my way around the little market, as I slow down and appreciate the sensuous displays of local produce and baked goods, I am filled with my own sense of abundance, a deep appreciation for this day and for my community. I am at peace, and filled with a quiet sense of joy.
What brings you a quiet sense of joy?