Monday, February 28, 2011

The Drive To Be Self Sufficient

Hanging out in the "shelter".

During a walk to the park, we decided to detour from the usual playground.  Today's detour  was to check on the status of a fort that my son and his friends had built in the woods surrounding the park a few weeks ago.  We didn't expect to find much but sticks on the ground, but the fort was in pretty good condition, and it seemed other children had continued to build upon and make the fort better.    As I sat and listened to my children, I remembered something about myself.  I remembered that back before I desired a degree in business, before I desired to move into the big city and live on my own, before I thought about getting all political about things--I wanted to take care of myself!  I sat reminiscing about sweeping the sidewalks outside our country home, imagining it was my own home--not my parent's or grandparent's.  I thought of the days I would take my grandmother's old steel pots and fill them with willow leaves, dirt, and grass, pretending to be living off the land.  I remember taking long stalks of wild grass and lying them down to make beds for myself.  I was onto something then, and I pushed it away in favor of what I was being taught that women should want.

Laying down pine-needles for soft bedding.
I was taught (mainly in school) that I should want to get away from those tasks of drudgery, that I could live so much better because I was so intelligent (their words, not mine).  Why waste it on manual labor?  I swore up and down that I'd never marry a farmer.  That I'd work my way up the corporate ladder and take over whatever city I lived in.  I started to fulfull that...I finished my degree in Human Resource Management and Human motivation.  I got married (to a then musician but now statistician).  But then...something happened.

The shelter-top.
While taking care of my family, I joined a CSA (Community Sponsored Agriculture) Farm.  I worked the land, I ate the food, I preserved the food.  I learned about the balance between the bugs, the bacteria and the soil.  I learned that I LOVE dirt.  Not only dirt, but creating life in that dirt.  Then taking home produce, preserving it and putting it upon a shelf.  And then, once my food is stored away, serving it to family, friends and other guests that might be passing through and need a meal.  It's complex, and it uses the intelligence I was told would be squandered.  But it doesn't feel squandered.  It feels nourished.  It feels complete.

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