Some years ago I was starting to play with the idea of writing a book and asked some friends for ideas. Several people encouraged me to write about my own experiences as an activist and organizer. They assured me that I had much to teach … Continue reading Standing Strong
Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) ranked the US as the most obese country in the world in 2019. The World Health Organization tells us that we are one of the most depressed countries in the world.
The US is among the highest CO2 producers in the world. We continually are dumping poisons everywhere. We are continually putting poisoning our own food and the water we drink. Why?
We have a fascinating opportunity right now. At other times people might pay thousands of dollars to go on retreats to step away from their regular day to day lives and step into something new. We’ve all been given the opportunity for free. Sure, maybe it doesn’t come with an exotic vacation spot or maybe we’re still doing a lot of our work from before and some new jobs too, but we’ve got something here. How can we use it?
I keep thinking of something a friend use to say. He’d be presenting to groups, talking about all sorts of important environmental issues of the day and he’d tell people. “Don’t worry about protecting the earth. The earth, she’ll be fine. It’s us that we need to that we need to be concerned about. We’re the ones who will no longer be able to drink the water. We’re the ones who will no longer be able to breathe the air. We’re the ones who will no longer have food to eat.”
He was right. I suspect that this virus is simply another warning. The warnings are getting bigger and more intense each one after the other. We need to figure this out. What can we do?
You are there in your personal retreat. How can you take this time to care for yourself body, mind, spirit, soul? How does your relationship to this place where we live, this earth change? How do we show her respect? How do we stop poisoning her and poisoning ourselves in the process? When we walk together again who will you be? Who will we all be?
Roughly 45lbs of food, that’s what came out of the garden that I share with my friend David yesterday. I will admit there was apple tree involved and apples are heavy. Still, it’s an impressive haul from just an average small town back yard. I haven’t been consistent about weighing the food that I harvest, but this makes me wonder. How much have I gotten from the garden this year and how much is there? Is it 200lbs, 500, a 1,000?
In any case, it the experience is worth its weight in gold. The dog and I walk the few blocks over to David’s house where I unleash Bella to let her lay in the shade while I weed and discover the bounty. Depending on the amount to harvest and the number of mosquitoes we may be there a few minutes or a few hours. If David is home we enjoy some visiting while we’re there.
Yesterday I found a butternut squash where I thought I’d accidentally killed off the vine. It was great find. Earlier this summer I was awed by lettuce that kept producing tasty leaves even in the hottest days of July. I can’t say that I ever find this kind of joy and wonder in the aisles of the supermarkets looking at the harvests trucked in from 500 miles away.
I spent most of my day yesterday in my kitchen watching movies on my computer while making spaghetti sauce for winter, freezing carrots, drying apples, baking granola, and making a bit of cucumber salad. I still have quite a bit of that 45 lbs of produce to preserve so I’ll be back at it tonight. But, it brings me such simple joy.
I spend the time engulfed the sweet and savory smells of my creations eyeing the wonders that I had the good fortune to harvest, being awed just that they’re real. I get to bathe in the memories other times and other kitchens with friends and family, so much laughter and so much love.
I think a lot about convenience. I think about how we were sold the idea of processed foods in the 1950’s. We were told they were convenient, time savers. Yes, I spent a wonderful day yesterday enjoying the food I grew and harvested. I got to spend time with my dog and cats, just being at home and being creative. I don’t know a better use of that time. I am glad I didn’t give it away to something else less valuable. I am confident too, that there will be times this winter that I will be glad of my pre-prepared sauces and soups and other wonders that I can heat in just a few minutes for supper that were made in my kitchen and not a science lab with food not food-like substances.