Rancholivo at last

IMG_4811by cheri sabraw

Buddhist masters sit still on cushioned floors, inhaling and exhaling, practicing the art of nothingness. They attempt to disentangle their minds from thought and desire, from attachment and emotion. In their linen robes, they forsake the material life with its pull toward objects and people. Without drink or feast, laughter or tears, they hope to ascend to perfect understanding of life in the silent rite of nothing. No hope. No desire. No loss. No fire. It is true that if you desire nothing, when nothing happens, you have met your heart’s desire.

But. Is this life?

Life is full of heartache, wonder, suffering, joy, despair, gratitude. It is sensual, earthy, fragrant, sticky, and hot. It is roaring, messy, oily, and frigid. Life, in short, is a day and night of pressing olives after a day of picking olives after a year of spraying olives, and after years of watering, pruning, fertilizing, and dreaming of olive oil.

My sister Cindy and I can be simplistic, at times. Having not researched how man and woman have been extracting the oil from the olive, we thought the equation went something like this:

Harvested olives+olive press=olive oil.

Not quite.






The yield this year was small.

We ran out of time doing it ourselves.


Life in all its iterations happened–the deafening roar of the hopper splitting the olives into millions of shards of pit, skin, and oily meat; the rhythmic rowing of the grinder kneading the shards into a reddish paste, the slap of the disks on the table enabling the spinning spatulas to spread the material; the tremendous electrical surge of the press itself descending upon the disks; the trickling and then gushing of the liquid into the bucket…

The meaning of life?

It was in the oil.























About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
This entry was posted in Education, Growing Olives, Life, My photography and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Rancholivo at last

  1. Richard says:

    As a lifelong adherent of Popeye I can only subscribe to your pursuit of Olive Oyl in preference to other forms of enlightenment.

    • Cheri says:

      I wish you had told me long ago that you are an adherent to Popeye..I’d have planted spinach along with olive trees.

      • Richard says:

        Only now do I understand the significance of your harvest at the approach of Hanukkah.

        May your lights burn forever!

        • Cheri says:

          Thank you.Yes. You are right: patience, courage, holiness…it’s all there making olive oil. Do you and Glenys want a bottle?

          • Richard says:

            You are far too generous. Really. Much as we would love to sample your precious oil, you must save it for use at home or for your worthy band of loyal assistants. Do not commit it to the vagaries of a long and hazardous journey !

            As for yourselves, of course, that is quite another matter.

  2. Bravo! Nirvana has been achieved. All good things come to good people.

  3. Christopher says:

    The photo of the deliciously brown olive oil being poured into the bucket, made me think it (the oil) would be good to drink, particularly if alcohol could also be extracted from the olive plants, or extraneously added.

    How about olive cider – or olive wine? If one can make peach or grape wine or cider, why not olive wine or cider? I mean, if the universe can be seen in a grain of sand, why can’t alcohol be seen in a sliver of an olive?

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Christopher,
      As you know from my four years’ of posting about our frustrations in trying to produce even a few bottles of oil, we have our hands full just in olive oil production. Your idea might be possible though. Why don’t you plant a couple of olive trees and see what you can do…you could have the next big product.

  4. bogard says:

    WOW and WAHOO !!!! Perseverance pays off. Congrats to you and the Judge. The Butterfly lady and I would be honored and blessed to try some someday. Bon Vivre and Go Cardinal!

    • Cheri says:

      Hi Bogard!
      Nice to hear from you on the blog. Yes, let’s hope that Stanford beats USC tonight. And since I attended both schools, you would think I would be happy either way; however, I am sold 100% Cardinal. Irony is that we are in Cambria with no television…are we the sports bar type? I may have to follow it online. Btw, wasn’t that game two weeks ago against Notre Dame the very best ever??? Even Ron jumped up and cheered (that’s saying something). When we come to the South next fall, we shall bring you a bottle of oil if there are any left.

  5. shoreacres says:

    I’ve always had a strong animus against the Eastern way of things, without a clue as to why. Well,l maybe I had a little clue. knew that when it came down to detachment or engagement, I was firmly on the side of engagement. You’ve put it perfectly, and it was worth waiting for the olives to ripen to get that pressing of thoughts along with them. Besides, you can’t bottle nothingness.

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