This I Believe

Madeline - Ithaca, New York
Entered on July 4, 2006

At the exalted age of fourteen, I haven’t quite gotten to the point where I can say with conviction “this is what I think about humanity”. (I just haven’t seen enough yet!) At this moment though, I would have to say I believe in oregano. Oregano is a small plant that provides distinctive flavoring to soups and other such dishes. The ancient monks used to give oregano up for lent, depriving themselves of the one thing that made their food unique and interesting for forty days.

The first time I ever cooked dinner all by myself, I decided to make a bean soup. My father had made it many times before, and it seemed like something that would taste good with little effort. As I took my first sip of the steaming soup, I realized something was missing. It was of course, oregano. I believe this shows that how everything in life, no matter how insignificant, has an important role to play. It was not the oregano itself the monks gave up, but the taste, the difference it made to their food. Imagine life being the same, day after day, night after night. Oregano is the bright red balloon that floats over a factory, the thing that makes people replace the look of “ho hum” with “ha ha!”. I believe in paying attention to the little things in life, the things that make each moment stand out. If we as a nation (and one quickly falling underneath a fast-paced, technological cloud) are not able to take the time to focus on little things, our lives will be bland and undefined, like a flour dumpling that has soaked too long in watery broth. People of today should try to make the insignificant significant, and to savor each moment. For each moment is filled with a million little things to see, if you can stop to notice them. And please, don’t forget the oregano.