Words: Leah Solomon
Illustration: Fiona Christensen
When I was younger in those awkward primary school years I used to spend hours pondering the sheer magnitude that is the universe. My family and I used to take advantage of our good family friends that owned a retreat in the heart of the KwaZulu Natal countryside. It is an incredible piece of land… We used to stay in the main house with them which was placed right at the top of their land; it overlooked the little cottages and dam. Their front garden was more like a slope, so it was perfect for rolley-polleys and sliding down in boxes. But mainly, it had the most incredible view of the sky, especially at night.
If you have ever experienced the countryside in KwaZulu Natal you’ll come to know that there is often never a cloud in the sky at night. You have the most perfect view of the stars dotted across a navy canvas. Most weekend nights I spent lying on the grass looking up at the sky that was completely encompassing us. Besides contemplating the usual like first kisses, puberty and at what point in this lifetime will I be getting my braces off, I came to a strange realisation. But for some reason it made perfect sense to me
When I looked up at the sky and noticed its dome-like shape and the way it seemed to be holding the world as its contents, I just thought, “The sky would look really pretty on a salad bowl.” Then I realised that the earth is a massive salad and that the sky and space is the bowl keeping us all together. I started to think about what parts of the earth would be various fruits and vegetables. The grass and leaves would be various lettuces, sand and dirt would be spices like paprika, and people would be croutons and so forth. It started to get really elaborate when French cheeses and balsamic vinegar came into the mix.
I’ve always kept that thought with me as I went through various phases of life and tried to attribute it to when I was going through a personally trying time. I started to realise that life is pretty much like a salad bowl. The contents may come and go, and you may find gross, slimy pieces of lettuce amongst the wondrous crisp, green lettuce, but everyone experiences it. People who package lettuce don’t secretly label a specific mixed salad pack for you with extra slime, it just happens. But all you need to do is just separate the slime from the crisp and enjoy the freshness of the salad; the salad that is life.
So, next time you look up at the sky and notice the beautiful salad bowl that’s holding you, say in your head, “extra lettuce please”.