I watch my daughter playing in our backyard after my morning walk/run. She runs through the grass, with her drunken toddler’s gait, and the grasshoppers are going haywire trying to get away from her citronella scented legs and stomping feet. They’re parting before her like the waves parted for Moses, and I’m sure they are trembling. She stops, squats, and immediately plunges both hands into a pile of dirt. And since she is still at the age where everything interestingly textured, or new and unfamiliar, goes straight into her mouth, she begins to shovel the dirt through her lips like it’s a new flavor of ice cream (which she doesn’t know about yet, but that’s beside the point). I can’t help thinking, “she’s just about got it right.”
And what do I mean by that? I think that we are so disconnected from where our food comes from, disconnected from the earth in general, that it might be a good idea to plunge our fingers into some dirt every once in awhile (although I’d understand if you didn’t want to taste it like a one-year-old would).
This morning, a friend of mind mentioned that she’d been walking through her mother-in-law’s garden, occasionally pulling back leaves to see what kind of fruit the plant had produced. “The peppers looked weird there. They’re supposed to be on the shelf at the grocery store,” she said wryly. I remember having the exact same feeling when I walked through a vegetable garden for the first time and really looked. It’s a beautiful and startling revelation to have–seeds go in the ground, they grow into a plant, the plant produces fruit, and I can eat that fruit for nourishment, for life. Our forefathers, heck our grandfathers, would’ve been incredulous at our lack of knowledge regarding the very thing that is first on our heirarchy of needs (at least, according to Maslow). As silly as it sounds to see a bell pepper “out of place” in a garden, we would do well by our bodies and souls to have more of those moments, moments where we recognize our own silliness and can watch the mystical and tangible collide.
I didn’t even get to talking about what I really wanted to, but I will talk more about supporting your local farmers in posts to come. For now, sleep beckons as it so often does this time of night.