Shaking Buddha’s Hand & Awakening Wonder

Shaking Buddha’s Hand

A splash of vibrant yellows appeared before my eyes. I stared at and then touched and shook what I was told was called Buddha’s Hand, a vegetable that adds zest to salads. For a moment, all the familiar vegetables around me faded as I was marveling at the multitude of fingers in the vegetable I have just encountered for the first time in my life of several decades.

On the way home, the yellow fingers in my bag, I realized that what I enjoyed as much as seeing the brilliantly yellow veg for the first time was the sense of wonder that I experienced. It was the wonder that children experience when they see daily objects or foods for the first time. Their eyes open wide and they want to touch and taste their object of wonder, with excitement and joy. For adults, it is hard to feel exhilarated when seeing a cucumber for the millionth time, although perhaps viewing the daily objects and edibles from a different perspective could help bring the joy back.

I’m reminded of Konstanty Ildefons Galczynski, a Polish poet who wondered in one of his poems, “why a cucumber does not sing?” While we pass by many cucumbers in our lifetime, he asks,

What if it’s its greatest yearning?
To sing like no one else, like a lark,
and what if at night it sheds
green tears in his jar?

Let’s make sure no green tears or tears of other colors are shed!



Karo Caran, the Rainbow Poetess, is a poet and a non/fiction writer. Her novel, "Breaking the silence: A story in paintings" focuses on the censorship of art and gay relationships in the postwar, communist Poland. Her poetry-based memoir, "Life in a Footnotes" will be published this summer.
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