Karen and I sat on the back porch of our cabin yesterday, listening to Opossum Run. We thought about people elsewhere who walk miles each day to collect a little water to meet their needs. The time to pan for gold, if that time ever existed, has passed. Water has become golden.
As I mentioned in this year's Thanksgiving Day blog posting (immediately preceding this one, entitled "Thank You"), we're fortunate to be able to "make" Thanksgiving dinner. This is a result of a choice we made 17 years ago, after asking ourselves, "Is this really what we want to do until we retire?" We didn't realize then where we were heading, and I suspect that 17 years from now we'll look back at today and say we didn't realize in 2011 where we were headed.
Traveling always does this to me. Stepping outside our box forces me to look at our choices from a different perspective. As we walked around Manhattan, we didn't see many gardens or wellheads. We visited a small community garden in the Upper West End. Each participant had a few square feet, where growing potatoes or raising turkeys would be very hard. The only way they could "grow" a significant amount of food was to pay someone else to grow it for them. Enter, grocery stores and farmers' markets.
That's okay, I suppose, assuming the buying doesn't accompany an attitude that looks down on the labor and the places that make their food possible. Something is out of whack if we call farmers and other laborers names like "rednecks," sort of like the names given the slaves brought here to do the work white people thought was beneath them. These are the people who feed us.
We spent an afternoon art gallery-hopping in Chelsea. At first, I didn't know quite what to think of an exhibit of works by Robert Kinmont at Alexander and Bonin. A wooden box sat on the floor next to what presumably had been its contents, a small pile of soil, entitled "A Cubic Foot of California." Another work, entitled "Evidence," consisted of 127 willow forks, that is, forked willow tree branches. Near the entrance stood half of a hollowed-out log, clean and smooth. These and other pieces seemed like a tractor driving down Wall Street. Then I thought, yes, that's exactly what we need to see. We cannot, must not, live such specialized, compartmentalized lives.
"So are you going to drive a tractor down Wall Street?" asks Virginia.
I hope I don't have to.
Different strokes for different folks
3 weeks ago