Restorative Celery Gazing

15 days ago, I felt completely and totally overwhelmed. My husband and I had just navigated a very fast move into our new home, which is nearly 3x the size of my former condo in which we’d somehow managed to cohabitate, my immediate family had just had a therapy session in which we deliberately talked about the elephant in our familial room for the first time, and I felt so off kilter I could hardly breathe. I had to do something for me, and for months I had been wanting to juice. Actually, I’d promised myself that once we were in a real house, I would get a juicer. And, in somewhat typical form, I had not yet done it. Just like the water structuring device that I’d purchased to purify all the water on our property that was still sitting in a box, not yet installed to provide us with amazing structured water, there was no juicer. No way for me to make fresh vegetable and fruit juices, which I both needed and wanted to do. So I grabbed my 20% off coupon for Bed, Bath and Beyond, and off I went to buy myself a juicer!

              I was going to get myself the cheapest one there… after all, we’d just bought a house, and a washing machine, a dryer, a dishwasher, and countless smaller things. But the gods of BB&B had my back – Breville, the brand I had planned on purchasing, was excluded! That teeny tiny fine print had a long list of brands and items that did not qualify for the coupon. But Omega, the slow masticating juicer that I had read about and thought longingly of, was not on the exclusion list. So it was that I bought the exact juicer that I had longed for but was not going to allow myself the pleasure of having. Saving $60, a 15 year warranty and other potentially useful functions (i.e. making baby food, nut milks, nut butters?) Winning formula!!!!

              14 days ago, I woke up in the morning and made fresh celery juice. My husband, always a good sport for experiments, joined me on the juice in the morning train. For several days, the first thing I did was get out and assemble my juicer, rinse two heads of celery, and run them through my Omega. Then I’d take it all apart, rinse the pieces, and put them in the drying rack, to be ready for the next morning’s juicing.

              I’ve since figured out that juicing for 3-4 days at a time makes mornings run much more smoothly, that I tire of buying celery every day, and that I have not yet tired of drinking that bright green elixir on the daily. So things are smoothing out: celery and I have gotten into a bit of a routine. A couple times a week, I purchase a ridiculous amount of celery. The next morning, I juice it all, filling up old mason jars, kombucha bottles, ghee containers, lemon juice bottles… any glass I can remove the glue from with a solid lid, I now hold onto, because you never know when there will be more celery juice (or broth – another story, another filler upper of random glass jars.)

              That feeling that I had, pre-celery juice? Complete overwhelm? For the most part, it’s still there. So phase 2 begins: I will grow my own celery! No rose-colored glasses here…. I know that the amount of celery we go through cannot reasonably be grown in my living room window, but a few days worth every few weeks? That has to be possible. And thus it begins: 10 little baby celeries growing from the roots of their long gone and digested family, sitting in the sunlight in their little glass containers filled with water. Note that these glass containers mean that we now have almost no small containers for leftovers – something of a hardship for people who cook as much as we do in general, but particularly now that we are on a liver cleanse and eat almost exclusively from home.

              For the first few days, my baby celery plants who began after I cut their stalks off for juicing didn’t look like much at all. The only celery plant that I’d somewhat brutally broken off stalks from, that celery baby started looking like it was growing with a day or two, but all the others seemed to be struggling to poke their green heads up out of their safe spaces. I understood them. They looked how I felt.

              Daily, I would inspect my baby celery plants, top off their water, wonder if I should move them to a different location. Inevitably I decided that they were fine where they were, that they’d come out when the time was right, and that it would all be all right in the end. And you know what? They did come out! Their teeny little yellowy fern-y looking heads peeked up, then they started to green up, and now I have a miniature forest of celery that needs to be planted into dirt. And I’m avoiding it.

Somehow it feels like they betrayed me. All the hours I would spend gazing at them, admiring their beauty, trying to get a photo to adequately capture it on my phone, giving them just a teeny bit more water, that was all done and then those little twerps did exactly what they were supposed to do – grow! Which means what, that I need to accept and enjoy the fact that I too have the perfect ingredients to grow, and allow my ferny bright green leaves to reach out to the sun? It kind of feels like my celery babies are judging me. Like I need to grow as much and as fast as they are. And maybe I am not up to it. My resources might be so low that there is very little leftover to put towards growth. Those first few days of my cut off celery roots, the days where there seemed to be no growth evident? That’s how I am feeling right now. It feels like clinging to the stillness in the eye of the hurricane. If I take my eyes off my celery, there are so many things to do and situations to cope with and people’s emotions that I can’t not see and the stories behind them and on and on.

But if I focus my gaze in on the tiny green fern-y looking leaves of my celery babies, and admire their bold greenness, and think about how I will plant them and arrange them in my sunny southern exposure living room window, that is all I can see. The usage of resources to push upward towards the light, the courage of pushing through the dark safety of what has ended. Somehow, gazing at celery restores me, one moment at a time.