This morning I’m looking out at this view from the dining room of my friend’s family vacation house in Sedona. As I go to open the banana I bought at a highway gas/convenience store last night at 11pm, I notice that the Del Monte label also states the banana is from Guatemala. I’ve always liked Del Monte, largely because it has its 19th Century business origins in Oakland, California. I generally don’t eat bananas because there is so much in season fruit in Northern California, bananas seem truly exotic. The country of origin labeling on this banana was new to me.

Since I’m on a journey being here not home this week, I got to thinking about the origin and journey of this simple banana. At some point a farmer intentionally planted a banana tree in Guatemala some number of years ago. This past growing season, the tree produced a crop of bananas, of which this individual was one of a bunch. Those bunches were picked and packed by some Guatemalan and put into cartons. They were then trucked to another location to eventually arrive at the port of somewhere in Central Ameraica, to get into a container for the sailing to LA. From LA they were trucked to some distribution center in Arizona in order to be shipped to the store. And once the bananas reached the store, firmly established in the Sonora desert of Arizona, an employee kindly separated all the bananas from their bunches to be sold by the each. After I bought it, the banana rode with me from the store to arrive at this table in front of this landscape.

Who knows how many hands have touched this banana that I bought for well under a dollar; each of them contributing their little bit of effort that is entirely taken for granted as I consume the banana and discard the peel. Except, on this day, for me. Thank you everyone in Guatemala and all along the way for this little banana gift for my breakfast.

Now I’m wondering how many other little things do I take entirely for granted every single day. Little gifts of very small effort from someone or many someones, in some faraway place, or right across town? I don’t know, but, I know one thing that happens for me: anything I see once, I will continue to see time and time again, maybe near term, maybe forever. And therein lies the contribution of that farmer to my life outlook. How lucky I am and we all are that we have so, so much access, and so, so many people extending some little courtesy (paid or otherwise) so that we can have a banana or all the other things that fill our lives from the smallest to the largest pleasures?

Happy New Year! May your year be filled with unexpected awarenesses of all the things for which we can all be grateful for any and every day.