The Transformative Power of Yes

Vanessa Torre

Reclaiming the curiosity and wonder I’ve lost.

Yesterday, I learned I like cherries. And plums and peaches. Odd thing to learn at this point in my life. I guess it was time.

I was at Pike Place Market in Seattle. It’s a sensory overload of the highest magnitude. I must have smelled every damn flower I came upon. I’m also now fairly certain that dahlias are my favorite. These ones were the size of a salad plate and in colors I had never seen. I live in Arizona. It’s not exactly a land rich with vibrantly colored flowers.

If there’s anything that outnumbers the flowers at Pike Place, it’s the bins upon bins of fresh produce. Huge, plump, amazing fruits and vegetables.

I walked by a big produce stand and it was hard not to be in awe. I picked up a tomatillo the size of my palm.

“Do you want to try a Rainier cherry? Ours are the best!” a young man holding a peach and wielding a knife asked me.

My first inclination was to say no. I’ve never been big into cherries. It’s not a dislike. I’m just completely indifferent to them. Instead of no, I said yes. It just came out. It was a split-second “oh, why the hell not” decision.

I hate to admit it, but I’ve never been a big fruit and vegetable fan. I’ve been tainted by the fact that the produce we get in Arizona is horribly lacking in flavor. Being a city that can boast less flavor than flowers should not be something to aspire to.

That cherry was about the size of a half-dollar and it exploded when I bite into it. It was the sweetest, most crisp and delicious cherry I had ever had.

In that moment, I wondered what else is out there in the world that I love that I don’t know I love. What other indifference can be transformed by saying yes?

A week ago, if that guy at the produce stand asked me if wanted to try the peach and the plum, I would have said no. I would have told him I don’t like plums and peaches. The truth is that I don’t know if I have ever actually had a plum in my entire life. Today felt like as good of a day as any.

I said yes to all the fruit. He cut off a thin slice of peach and handed it to me. It was so good my eyes got wide and I looked at him and could just muster, “Oh my God…” He pointed to the sign. It was called an Oh My God peach. Well done. The plum was juicy and sweet. I bought one of each.

Kids move about the world with a slowly dying sense of wonder. They revel in discovery until they grow up and it goes away. Mine’s gone. It left a long time ago but I got glimpse of it while eating a peach in a farmer’s market.

I want that childlike sense of wonder and curiosity back. In fact, I want to move from letting these little moments of exploration happen to me to actively seeking them out. Oddly, the more open I feel to them, the more I seem to find them.

I find more people ask me questions to which I can readily answer “yes” than I realized.

I bought saffron threads. Said yes to that, too. I have no idea what I’m going to make with them when I get home but I’m going to have a hell of a time finding out.

I wandered the market for most of the day, buying books and eating well over a half a pound of those cherries as I walked. I was incredibly happy.

Once I realized I loved cherries, I went deep. God, it was fun. I giggled just about every time I popped one in my mouth. I want to find out what else I love. It’ll come by way of saying yes to damn near everything I can. It’s just a small way to let a little bit more joy in. Hopefully, a little bit turns into an open floodgate.

No is easy. No ends the journey. No finishes the conversation. I’m nowhere near done.

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Flaming pinball, nerd, music lover, wine snob, horrible violin player. No, she won’t stop taking pictures of her drinks. IG: vanessaltorre Twitter: @vanessaltorre

Phoenix, AZ

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