Creative Nonfiction Contemporary

Pick turmeric. Pick me

Pick the curcumin because it's rich in everything and will make you in its own image. Golden and bright and glowing. Pick it and turn your world into an orb for feasting. Dance with me. I will tell you about Marco Polo and how he loved me once, in China. Or how my plant's name is thought to mean 'sacred earth'. Hear me. Pick me. Take me. With you.

I heard the words without registering exactly where they were coming from or what they meant, really. It was in the grocery store... No, not in the big grocery store whose name I won’t tell you; in fact it was in another store in town where you can buy spices, granola, and grains by weighing them out yourselves in plastic or brown paper bags. The large, clear jar of the powdered turmeric always seems to shout at the passerby and potential spice buyer, because its hue is the brightest of the bunch.

You can also buy turmeric root there, right next to the fresh ginger. They are the same family, true; don't confuse the rhizomes, however. That would be a mistake. Their scents are very different, and so are their flavors. A little turmeric root goes a long way. Too much makes my stomach turn, but a little is much more than sensuous.

I thought about the name: turmeric. Imagining it to have come from some exotic land and language, I was a bit disappointed - and annoyed, I'll admit - that it is said to have come from whatever roots form the phrase sacred soil: terra merritta, in one version I found. Latin. This time, that’s boring. I had been hoping for something more Asian.

While thinking about the rhizome that was reaching out to me, I had the impulse to buy it, not knowing what use I had for it nor what would become of me if I brought it home. I confess that, just to be on the safe side, I acquired both a bit of root and a bit of the powder. The root was in the fresh produce section, on the top shelf, so I circled back to get some, listening to the pick me! that I had first heard. I was wondering why...

After all, clearly the turmeric and its powder had spoken to me, called to me. My hearing is excellent and I do love yellow. It might be because of growing up in a yellow house - faded yellow, foolishly painted onto worn red bricks - that the color was imprinted in my brain from the time I could see. Do you think that was the simple reason for the simple purchase?

It was no big deal. Just a few words from a store shelf. Moving on now...

If you knew me, which I don't think you do, you'd know I like to do a lot of looking into things. It's not serious research, of course, but I do like to look up words and plants and pieces of history, among other things. That's how I discovered that there must be a lot of bad publicity out there about turmeric and that some believe it while others do not. Since, as has already been mentioned, I like the color, so it's the only justification I need to look some things up. 

There are many conflicts in this world, and some of them center around whether turmeric and its curcumin are valuable or worthless. A lot of the material I found spends time denying any of the benefits the plant, in any form, might have. I find that sad, frankly, because of the color. The articles go point by point saying there's no evidence of anything good that might come from turmeric, aka curcuma longa, and methinks they doth protest too much. Something that pretty must be useful, somehow. Plus, I love the taste of my turmeric-mint toothpaste.

Maybe, I tell myself, it's not the medicinal application, at least not in terms of chemical properties. I mean, I get the feeling that there’s something else nice about it. Just nice, that’s all I ask. If turmeric like what I bought on impulse can't cure cancer, improve joint movement, resolve problems of depression, digestion or anything else, it has to have a redeeming quality of some kind. Maybe it's the concept of curcuma, something that works on the inside until we put it to use outside. 

I’m going to go with that.

Yellow insides. I can imagine them perfectly. Why? Because the plant, or at least its root, can be used for dyeing cloth and wool, or papers. Turmeric likes fibers. It might actually turn the esophagus and the stomach, and later the intestines, into something we would love to look at if it were visible. (No, I am not suggesting anybody go slitting guts open to see the effect of turmeric on the inner body. I'm just thinking that if turmeric has that Midas touch of turning things bright yellow, might it not do the same to our innards?)

Happy feeling, a suggested glow, a warmth, a feeling of cleanliness, like you get from turmeric toothpaste - remember the one I have? That feeling really exists and once you’ve brushed your teeth with that toothpaste, no other will do. It’s probably an Ayurvedic, but I should look that up. I enjoy brushing my teeth now, though. And if Ayurvedic doesn’t help, it doesn’t appear to hurt, either. That’s what my research says, anyway. Harmless. Happy, too. Like it has an aura or something.

Benefits health? Maybe not. Certain web sites state differently, they give no credit to the root of burnished gold, but why can’t I decide it is really true? The online sources I found state that turmeric hasn’t been proven to do anything but color our culinary and fiber worlds, but what about the worlds in our heads? What if it really does make us all happier? What if it’s really all just about the yellow?

Benefits beauty? Turmeric is most likely no better than anything else for doing away with wrinkles and other signs of aging, probably. Until we can travel back in time, we have to face that reality. (Note the use of the word "face" - a real play on words.) Wrinkles are here to stay. But yellow cheers me up, and who doesn't want to be happy? Surely happiness can help iron out a wrinkle or two.

Market the color? Why not? Not that I know a whit about marketing. I can just spread the word, start a blog, share my feelings. That should be good enough. People like warm and fuzzy. It's no lie to offer that to readers. I can do that.

Get rich? It's not likely that could come out of a three dollar purchase, but one never knows. Stranger things have happened.

Use money to build animal sanctuary or maybe an animal rescue? That's really what I've wanted to do my whole life, because even though I am happy to provide something healthy and healing for them, I really don't like to be around them. I prefer to be with animals. If turmeric really were gold, then there’s that potential, you might say. I just made a leap in my train of thought, but it was because I can't help hoping something good will come out of my impulse to buy the talking turmeric. If I had a lot of money, I'd pay off my mortgage and do someyhing really good for the world.


Friends, it has happened. It has really happened. I struck gold after all. (You knew that was coming, didn’t you?) Just call me Queen T. I am rolling in dough because people actually liked my little blog and started coming to me for happy thoughts. I have lots of those, maybe because of the house I grew up in that was a certain color? You can decide for yourselves, because I have work to do, lots of it.

Now that I'm rich enough to set up an operation to improve the lives of animals, I might have to decide which ones to have there. You see, money means nothing without animals. With my inner gold, I can spend my wealth on them. Actually, it's that inner gold which has brought me all the wealth I can spend on my dream. Allow me to explain.

People have heard about me, mostly through my humble blog about joy, happiness, and inner riches that can come from believing in the turmeric effect, and they want to support me. I take their contributions to acquire more land and build more shelters on it. People volunteer to feed all the animals that I’ve rescued, with the help of a wonderful crew. That is why now I can report that I'm living my dream. 

A lot of people obviously want what I am offering, not as a product to sell, but instead as something everybody wants and can have. Call it hope, or anything else that makes you feel good. I'm using what I'm receiving to rescue animals. That's my only goal.

The truth is, I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for turmeric and its curcumin. What would you do if you took a chance on an herb, a spice, or a bunch of green leaves that spoke to you in a market? Would you listen? Would you follow your heart? I have, and it's all I ever wanted.

Obviously, the moral of this short little story is to pay attention when you're out in the world, buying things or just looking at them. There are little voices all around us, calling to us, reaching out, asking to be noticed. We can't thear them if we're all wrapped up in our own affairs, checking off items on a shopping or a to-do list. We won't notice that there are other things beside us who deserve attention. The modern world is too self-centered. Stop, pay attention to the things around you. Hear the world move, watch things and their music. Talk to the vegetables, or at least to the pasta and cheeses. 

Some of the things you're seeing and hearing for the first time might want to come with you when you leave the store to go home. You'll never know if you don't pay attention. Find what connects you to them and slather yourself with it. For me, it was the color with its mild voice. For somebody else, the call to action could come from a head of garlic or a bin of spelt flour. Everything knows how to express itself.

If you're not a fan of food, try the beach with mica flakes or the split rail fence with its curves and furrows that hold only wisdom. Stare a little bit, because you won't bother them. Then you can hear them, perhaps very softly at first. They will ask to accompany you. After that, your life might well change in profound ways. It will start inside you and increase from there until you are too small to hold it. That is how it should happen.

As I've just pointed out, the cause of the change doesn't have to be limited to turmeric and curcumin, because the truth be told, I'd rather be the Queen of that realm and not have to compete with others. I like to think root and powder spoke to me alone, turning me to gold on the inside. Your precious substance might be something else - amethyst or onyx, for example. Or quartz or the healing chemicals in comfrey. 

Go find it. Open yourself to that moment, that place, that thing able to transform you and translate you into what makes you worth it all. Have fun with it, devour it, but remember to share it.

You never know where your passion lies. I certainly didn't. Yet now I reign in a world of yellow and animals that are safe. I am Queen, all because I accepted the call of a bit of curcumin when it was least expected.

Open your door. Find your throne.

May 28, 2021 23:03

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Alexander Katz
23:27 Jun 01, 2021

This was oddly (or purposefully?) mind-bending. Part of me wants to believe this is an unreliable narrator high on her own supply of Curcumin. Great stuff, even if I'm well off the mark!


Kathleen March
02:40 Jun 02, 2021

Thank you! Not sure how mind-bending it was, but there are a lot of weird truths in the story... I think. Love curcumin!


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