Thanks to my New Age mother and my unusual upbringing as a yogi-blessed protestant that received yearly psychic, rune and tarot readings as well as comprehensive astrological charts, I’ve been the kind of person that could find God (a higher power that touches everyone and everything), just about anywhere. I’ve found God in incense scented temples, Renaissance churches, and quiet road side shrines. I’ve felt God in the crashing waves of the Atlantic, in the olive groves of Italy, in the tall branches of the California redwoods, in the smile of a newborn and, most recently at the Hollywood Farmer’s market.
It’s not surprising that I’d find God at the intersection of Hollywood and Vine. The city I live in is, after all, named after angels and the streets there are paved with stars. Look around the block and it’s not too hard to find bleeding heart Jesus’ on a tee shirt and a brightly painted picture of the Lady of Guadalupe tacked to the taco truck’s window. Not far from the fresh fruit vendors stands, I’ve seen Hasidic Jews on roller blades talking about the Talmud on their cell phones.
Going to the Hollywood Farmer’s market gives me the chance to settle down, be quiet and get right with God. I swear the vegetables talk to me. I get whole sermons from a juicy Clementine. I’ve heard homilies in a freshly cut peony. At the church of the market, the choir is made up of chefs in a produce trance, the blind guitar player named Pepe, and red-faced babies in strollers, busy chewing on a handful of grapes. The freshly cut samples, pierced through by a toothpicks, are my communion.
I don’t know what it is about the bright colors of the fruits and the earthy smells of the vegetables, but every Sunday I go to the farmer’s market I come back a better person. Tasting a sun warmed grape or a glistening orange slice silences me immediately. I close my eyes and become mindful of every flavor. Some times, when I smell a ripe apple or a juicy pear, I remember what it was like to be a five year old enjoying a piece of fruit. In those moments, I am both a child and an adult, overwhelmed with happiness, humility and the appreciation of the simple things. My worries melt away and the incessant buzzing of my brain working out the details of my life quiets down to nothing.
Going to the Hollywood Farmer’s market not only feeds my belly for the week, it satisfies my soul. I find solace in the Swiss chard. I get comfort in a handful of ripe tomatoes. I won’t say that religion is the answer for everyone. But I’m willing offer a guess that a visit to the Hollywood Farmer’s market might be.