Imagine my surprise when, after planting the plants, I picked up two of the now empty clear cups and was able to see “Sweet Banana” on the side. Two of those five plants were banana peppers, not basil! So I dug those two out and took them to the main garden, transplanting them yet again, this time into the pepper row. I double-checked all the cups, and yes, there were only two. The others were either Sweet Basil or Marseilles Basil.
That evening as I showed Keith the herb bed and told him the story, he walked around and looked at the basil from a different angle. ‘’You know,” he said, “those three plants look like peppers too.”
“Impossible,” I told him. “I was very careful when we transplanted them to write what each plant was on the outside, and those are basil!” Besides, I thought to myself, you are a vegetable gardener, not an herbalist. You don’t even know what half these things are.
Then I leaned a little closer—well, actually a lot closer. Those leaves were a little different, a bit more spade-shaped, but then French basil looks much different than Italian too. Finally I reached down and rubbed a leaf between my thumb and forefinger, and lifted them to my nose. I should have been knocked over by the strong smell of basil. Instead I got maybe a little whiff of “green” smell, nothing more. They were indeed pepper plants.
I wonder how many times we are too sure of ourselves. We know what we know, we know how we got that knowledge, and we know that we know more than most, so how can we be wrong? We have believed this thing for years. Our parents or some highly respected teacher taught us. It cannot possibly be wrong.
So there we sit with peppers in our herb bed. Peppers are good to have. I cook with them a lot. But when it comes time for a Caprese salad they are totally out of place, and I would like to see anyone try to make pesto with them. Even if I am positive they are basil, the facts won’t change, and I will simply look ignorant to those with unbiased vision.
Don’t get too sure of yourself. Be willing to listen. Be willing to double-check anything and anyone, including, and most especially perhaps, yourself.
The Almighty—we cannot find him; he is great in power; justice and abundant righteousness he will not violate. Therefore men fear him; he does not regard any who are wise in their own conceit, Job 37:23,24.