Mom is still doing the talking. She has the ability to hold forth, let me tell you (or maybe you already noticed)—and just for the record, her father was a preacher. (I think that's relevant.)
Mom: Overwhelmingly so, with or without technology’s strides, vacationing happens at nature’s expense, not to mention the less arcane costs. The ad for the hybrid SUV, picturing a shadowy, moss-carpeted forest and smugly tooting, “Finally, a vehicle that can take you to the very places you’re helping to preserve,” is really promising that for the $60,000 sticker price, wow-ee, you can get there without having to fold your legs into pretzels, and in addition, you’ll be conscientiously stomping down the lichens and sedge. Gas-hog transported somewhere or not, either way, on a grander or lesser scale, we’re invading.
... Is the family sustaining anything beyond their bellies, by staying planted at home in the growing months, entrenched up to their ankles in their own blood and sweat and tears?
I have no scientific answer for that! Just, sweet and simple, in defense of dirt:
Number one, Hounding after nature a la vacationer style is probably a sham. Er, scam. Whatever.
Number two, Furthermore, fleeing doesn’t get the flee-er anywhere.
Number three, As compared to deifying nature, worshiping it to its ruin, loving nature means humbling ourselves in labor, even getting down on all fours. Tending the garden, mud squishing up between our toes, we can only laugh at ourselves—or cry.
Me: Sustainability is more than us doing something. It’s about listening. We spend so much time trying to conquer nature—shipping our processed food from all over the world, using absurd amounts of electricity so we can stay up way late and sleep way late, pouring concrete wherever we might venture so as not to soil our shoes, building fancy, gas-guzzling contraptions that allow us to trot the globe on a whim, keeping our homes’ temperatures so even that we never break a sweat or shiver—that we miss out on some valuable lessons in patience and grit, not to mention some built in respites for sanity’s sake.
That’s why working with our food supply, doing the gardening and cooking ourselves, is about the most down-to-earth a person can get. In this one small way we are forced to abide by the natural elements, heading the ebb and flow of the seasons, respecting the differences between night and day. We can’t go scampering off to visit far-away relatives when the beans are in season. The food can’t be put on hold; you have to act now.
Well, except for the fact that I am compiling this series of Earthy Ponderations while I am hiding out at Panera Bread (after going shopping for clothes, of all things), ignoring the tomatoes, nectarines, and apples that were waiting to be turned into sauce, salsa, jams, and dried snacky foods. So see, I guess I have the same elitist attitude as everyone else, trying to get the upper hand, not wanting to kow-tow to nature’s demands.
But right now, at this very moment—7:43 on Tuesday, August 18, 2009—I’ll take any excuse I can get: I’m tired. Let me fool myself a bit longer.
About One Year Ago: How to make butter.