I believe spaghetti is a plant. Yes, a plant. After all, my father told me so. When I was very young we were eating spaghetti one evening and I asked him where spaghetti comes from. My Dad was a very smart and very educated man. He was a scientist, a microbiologist to be exact, and a professor, so everything he said had to be true. Spaghetti comes from a spaghetti plant, he explained. It grows about 18 inches tall and the part we eat is the stem. When it is harvested, the roots are cut off and the leaves removed before the stems are put into the boiling water to cook. “Just look down the stem of the spaghetti,” he would say. “It’s hollow. That’s where the nutrients and the water come up from the roots to feed the plant.” Exactly!
The odd thing is that being a scientist, my Dad expected proof for everything, yet every once in a while he would tell me and my brothers something that sounded so reasonable, but had no basis in fact whatsoever. But it had to be true and I believe it. I believe spaghetti is a plant because my imagination coupled with the “scientific” explanation from my father, tells me it is so. And now, I question everything, too, just like my Dad, except not in a scientific way. I question because my imagination allows me to make things into whatever I want them to be.
Is that a cloud in the sky, or is it a crocodile, or Superman or the Eiffel Tower? It can’t be just water vapor. It has to be so much more than that. It’s so big it’s so boundless and so free. And it’s a crocodile and wait a minute …I think that’s Audrey Hepburn! It’s whatever my mind wants it to be, any time I want it to be.
A few years ago my husband, my brother, my sister-in-law and I took a week-long rafting trip down the San Juan River in Utah. We were with a group whose interest is the Four-Corners area of the American West. We were seeing petroglyphs of the Anasazi culture, early Mormon settlements, geological formations and the erosional remnants of the river before it flows into Lake Powell. One evening as we set up camp deep in the canyon of what is called the “Goosenecks” section of the river, we began to look at the cliffs across from our camp. “I see George Washington,” my brother said. “There’s Thomas Jefferson,” I said. And soon we were picking out the faces of all the Presidents, much like we did in grade school in the Weekly Reader. You remember that puzzle. You had a page with a picture of a forest or a house or some other scene and hidden in the drawing were the faces of the Presidents and the object was to circle as many as you could find. That evening along the San Juan River we found all the Presidents right there in that rock face! Yes, even Millard Fillmore, Franklin Pierce and Chester A. Arthur. They were all there. The four of us saw them and we were so proud of ourselves and we were so amazed.
In my own backyard I see Cardinals every evening. They are such beautiful red birds. The male Cardinal will take a seed from the bird feeder, fly over to the female and feed her the seed. She accepts it from him and eats it. If I listen carefully, I can hear the conversation between the two. “This looks like a delicious seed. I’ll take it to my sweetheart. I hope she will like it.” “Oh, here comes my good-looking, big, redhead. I sure miss him when he’s not here. What is that he has in his beak?” “Hi, honey. I brought you a little something.” “Mmmmm. It’s delicious. Thank you for bringing me a seed. I love it.” “You’re welcome. I love you, my beauty.” “I love you, my handsome redhead.”
The universe just has too much to offer to stick with what you can see and hear and touch. Experience with your imagination and you too will find that spaghetti can be a plant.
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