I just talked to my Lizzie on the phone and she and Lon are back from their mini-tour. They drove all the way from almost-Maryland yesterday morning and arrived home around ten last night and are so thrilled to be home, but so glad that they went.
Lis assures me that they made "tens and tens of dollars."
She also told me that when they were somewhere in South Carolina yesterday eating lunch, the waitress put her hand on Lon's shoulder and said something like, "Can I get you anything else, darlin'?" and they thought, "We're home!" and Lis says she never wants to leave the Southland again- this place where her people are.
And I know that people up north and out west and everywhere, in fact, are good people and kind and loving but I know that here in the south we call each other darlin' and we aren't afraid to stop and even touch, sometimes, on the shoulder, on the back, and perhaps that only means that we have not yet become afraid of making human connections. I don't know but I know I am grateful for it.
When I was planting Maw-Maw's turnips last night, I was thinking of Lon and Lis and how much I knew they were yearning to plant their fall garden and sure enough, one of the things Lis said was that they couldn't wait to get that garden in. There's just something about getting things in the dirt when the season is right that completes some of us. We cannot rest until it is done.
That raw row on the right is where I planted my turnips. It does my heart so good just to have the seeds in the dirt. Because I do not depend on my garden for my existence, it is almost more satisfying for me to plant than it is to eat what results from the planting, although the eating is fine and shopping in the garden is even better than shopping at Publix, where as we all know, shopping is always a pleasure.
After I planted last night, I grabbed a few leaves of mustard and a spinach-like plant which I've got going and some yard-long beans and they made up part of our salad for supper. There IS something to be said for knowing that between what grows in the garden and what the hens so cheerfully lay for us, there is almost a full meal to be had at any time. Add in what's in the freezer in terms of venison and fish, and there is great richness.
And my foremothers nod their head in agreement, they beam their approval when I get those seeds in, when I pat that dirt over them which, as I have said, feels so much like bread dough, like a baby's bottom, that substantial yet firm giving-ness. I can feel the genes of those women flowing through my blood when I reach in and gather eggs, hold them up to my face to feel the just-laid warmth of them. Living food, it's all living food.
It is loving food.
And once you've gotten involved in it, that need to participate in the growing, the tending, becomes very strong. It is as if a switch is somehow flipped and I can feel, actually FEEL, those foremothers sighing in satisfaction at the knowledge that all of their eons of learning and doing are still part of the human race.
And Lon and Lis feel that too. We don't even need to discuss it. It just is.
A garden, chickens, hunting, fishing- these are all things which are considered to be luxuries these days for most of us. Back yard chickens are almost, at this point, a fashionable hobby. And yet, if we think about it, it's the going-to-the-store and buying our food wrapped and packaged and labeled and pre-prepared which is the actual luxury. We have turned things upside down and we don't even realize it! Isn't that odd?
Believe me- I am not going to give up buying food and coffee at the grocery store. That is another type of gathering but the switch has been turned in me and it has been turned for many years and so the satisfaction of gardening and chicken-tending is a completely different thing. It is, well, it is right. I may not need to do it but I HAVE to do it.
Does that make any sense at all?
Here is Elvis, watching his flock.
Here is this winter's salad, coming up.
Here is the blossom of the yard-long bean and as I have said before (and will no doubt say again) when Nature finds a design she loves, she uses it over and over again.
Here is some squash coming along.
And here is a bloom of the Parlor Maple and that is nothing but beauty, which is another thing that Nature seems to approve of.
I think we all seek balance, whether we are aware of it or not and I think that in today's world it is becoming harder and harder to find that balance. Part of that is the giving-away to others and to technology that which we are programmed as a species to do for ourselves, whether it is in the way we get the food we eat or the way we give birth or the way we die.
And I am so grateful to be here, where I am, in a place where I can touch or be touched by other humans, the dirt, the egg, the bread dough, the beauty.
I am so grateful I could have my babies the way my body was designed to do, that I could feed them with that same body, that I can take my grandson out to the garden and let him pick beans and eat them straight from the vine, that I can show him how the chickens need to be fed, how their poop helps the garden grow, how their eggs feel on his face, freshly laid, how they feel in the palm of the hand, how they taste when they are cooked.
Yes, I want an iPhone. Yes, I love my Mac. Yes, I adore my washing machine and oh yes, yes, yes, I am so grateful I do not have to haul my water from the river or the well either one.
But. I know that these things are not the end-all and be-all of my existence. I acknowledge that I am a living being on this living planet and as such, I need to be firmly aware of that which is living around me and to be a part of that too.
All right. That's what I'm thinking about this morning and now it is time for my late-breakfast.
I believe I will cook an egg.
Good morning, darlin's. Good morning.