The Truth About Bananas

This is the truth I know about bananas.

To ripen a green banana, the most effective way isn’t to stick it in a brown paper lunch bag loosely closed. Or bake it unpeeled at 300 degrees in the oven. Or zap it on high in the microwave.

I mean, those will work alright, though the banana always looks more ripe than it tastes.

I’ll tell you the most effective way. It won’t get you there fast. But if you want an inside-out ripening, this is the best I know.

Put the green banana alongside a ripe banana. Check back in after a bunch of hours and that green banana will have become what it had in it to become. It will have ripened gorgeously, yellowed where it was green, sweetened where it was bitter. It will have risen to the company it kept.

And this truth about bananas is also a truth about humans, isn’t it? The company we keep plays a part – and no small one – in our ripening, rotting, or staying forever green.

Toni Morrison kept company with James Baldwin, Socrates with Plato, Rivera with Kahlo, Statler with Waldorf.

Look at the calendar. Look at the meetings, the calls, the dates. Are we putting ourselves alongside those light-emitting people we can open wide up to, who see us with clear eyes, show us what’s on the other side of fear, and help us light a match to the singular fire we’ve each got somewhere in us?

If ripening is anything, surely it must be that – becoming what we have it in us to become.

Let’s fill the calendar with these people. Fill the weeks, the months, the years with them. Let’s ripen alongside them. And then let’s pay their light, their generosity, their fire-starting forward as far and as wide as we can.

So that the whole damn world can go bananas.

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