Saturday, November 7, 2015

The Wonder Of It All

It has been a day of great good things and small good things and great, small things.

Literal yard eggs, found by Vergil in a sort of nest in the pile of weeds and brush I pull.

Not a one of them showing any hesitation to sink to the bottom of a water-filled bowl, meaning they are fine and fresh with good strong dark brown shells and I think that perhaps Miss Honey from next door laid them but they could be Elvira's; I do not know. 

Boys playing and Greta chasing and August nursing and Vergil dressing his first deer so that he will have meat for his family. He did it. He shot it clean and cleaned up everything after and he did it all just right. This is a man who grew up with a mother who did not eat meat of any kind but who grew most of what her family ate and kept goats and chickens and made cheese, and canned and preserved and when he went to buy a chest freezer this afternoon, he was talking about buying a small one but Jessie said, "If we are serious about growing and keeping food and having more children, we need to get a bigger one," and he agreed.

I don't know. It just seems to me there is some essential goodness and even dare I say it? Righteousness about growing and hunting and fishing for one's own food. We fall far short of supplying all of our dietary needs (Vergil's mother is a truly amazing woman and always has been) but every meal we eat out of our own garden or from the woods or the hen house and every jar of pickles or jam we make from what we grow is a step in the right direction, I think. And at the very least, we carry on as humans have since the dawn of time and our children will know that vegetables and fruits come from plants and trees which grow in the dirt and that meat starts out as an animal which has to be killed and skinned and cleaned before we can eat it and that fishes and crabs and shrimps come from the sea and that all of this is a gift and not easy to obtain but that we must work for it and that yes, all of that work can be a great pleasure. 
And I think that we, as humans, have this desire to do this sort of work in our genes, some of us at least. To hunt, to fish, to plant, to grow, to gather, to harvest. 
And so many of us have lost touch with all of this to the point where we don't even cook. We open cans and boil bags and microwave pouches and buy prepared food and eat in restaurants and all of that is okay but it removes us so many more degrees from the reality of the dirt on the lettuce, the gut in the meat, the yeast in the dough, the hiss of the flame, the chop of the blade, the kneeling in the dirt, the feel of that dirt when we pat it after placing the seed in the ground. We have abdicated responsibility to others for our daily bread and let's face it- we cannot possibly all grow food or hunt it. Life just isn't like that for so many of us. 
But for those of us who CAN do some of these things- we are lucky. 

Well. I didn't mean to get on that soapbox but I guess I did. 

We all went to the little fall festival down at the truck stop and it was fun although it was SO hot. There were all sorts of people there and a stage with music and two bouncy houses, and tents set up with people from the Jefferson County Health Department and Humane Society and First Responders and a few food trucks and a few venders. We were late for food but we all got something delicious. I got a fish sandwich. 

Yes, m'am. That is a fish sandwich around here. I watched as they battered a gorgeous piece of fresh fish and dropped it in hot fat and they served it on two slices of white bread and I covered it in Crystal hot sauce when they gave it to me. It reminded me of when my first husband I used to go up to Thomasville, Georgia to this little hole-in-the-wall barbecue joint where we'd get chicken sandwiches which were half a barbecued chicken on two slices of white bread. 
Shut up and call your mama. 
That is good eating. I couldn't even finish the whole sandwich.
And once again, I know that someone went fishing recently. That gorgeous piece of fish meat had never been close to a freezer. 

Gibson and Owen had a great time in the bouncy house (and so did Vergil, to tell you the truth) and then Owen made a friend with another kid with a frisbee and by the time we left, he was soaked in sweat and happy as he could be. August slept through it all and when we got home, this happened.

I got to hold and rock my littlest fellow and I sang him songs and told him stories about how he is the result of thousands of years of love and that a tiny bit of each of those people who loved are now a part of him. I praised his nose, his hands, his feet, the softness of his skin, his hair. I was also hugged hard by Gibson more than once and he told me he loved me and Owen did too. 

After everyone left but Jessie and August, Jessie and I talked and talked as August nursed as if it were his job, which in fact, it is, and Greta laid at our feet and sighed and Maurice perched on the arm of the love couch beside me and let me scratch her head and of course I ended up crying because all of it just overwhelms me. The perfection of it all, the rightness of it all, the goodness of it all. All of the beautiful mess and chaos that it is, the dirty, bloody, realness that it is. The sweet farty, spit-upness that it is. The sweaty, hot fun that it is. The exhausted, quiet, relief that it is. The end-result-so-far of all the love that it is. The hysterically funny and flawed and bitter and perfect human frailty that it all is. The we're-doing-the-very-best-we-can that it all is. 

Yeah. All of that. 

I wonder what I'll cook for supper. I sort of want some noodles. 

Some days it's just fucking good to be alive. 

Love...Ms. Moon


  1. Every bit of this post resonated with me. I wish we all made more of an effort with being productive growing our own food. I was amazed several years ago when our state became a state of emergency due to severe floods. Our town was cut off from major highways and I was amazed that within two days no milk could be purchased and the shelves of the supermarkets were empty.

  2. What a lovely post - not soap-boxy at all to me. I wish more people felt the way you do, and had some sense where their food came from, or an idea how to put their own food by. It's better than therapy, growing or raising even a little of what we need.

    That baby is perfect, you are so lucky to have him to hold, and he's so lucky to have you to tell him where he came from and how much he is loved. Xo

    Ps that fish sandwich looks amazing. Where I grew up, they serve fried soft shell crabs and fried oysters on white bread like that at all the carnivals and festivals - great memories.

  3. Jo- Very well.

    NOLA- And hallelujah.

    Angella- As perfect as can be in this lifetime. For one day, at least.

    Leisha- I have experienced similar situations after hurricanes. We have no idea how dependent we are on The System, do we? Not until it breaks down. And then it's fucking scary.

    Mel- One of the kids said, "That's not a sandwich," and I said, "Protein, bread, sandwich." Vergil got a rib sandwich- you can imagine how that looked. And yes, August IS perfect. He is a small bundle of perfect love and squishiness and joy. I swear. You would think I'd never seen a baby before. It's overwhelming every time.

  4. What a beautiful, beautiful day. I love how you tell it.

  5. i cooked my first bones in turkey breast overnight(in butter and milwaukee's best no less). damn if i didnt feel like a WIFE pulling the bones out of that motherfucker!

    we do lose touch with where our food comes from. i hope you also get to enjoy some of that deer over the winter season.


  6. I can't add much to that! I agree with you about food, although if I had to kill and dress my own meat I am 100 percent sure that I would be vegetarian. Which wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing. (Then again, if I had to grow my own produce in order to be vegetarian, I might just starve to death!) I'd be stealing Olga's food before I could feed myself adequately.

  7. Elizabeth- It was one of those days that I just want a real written-down memory of. You know?

    Mrs. A- Well, unless I die, I will certainly be cooking and eating and yes, enjoying deer this winter. We all will be! I need to learn new recipes.
    And yay for you on the turkey!

    Steve Reed- You know, that's an aspect that I have never really considered. It's not that easy to grow food in the dirt. A lot of people would die if they had to do it themselves. Hell, I'd probably die.

  8. We cook food that we have grown--not all of it, but we do our best not to eat processed food. Meat is another thing because I am not a hunter. However, I am a fisher and have been since I was a child. My father taught me about gardening and fishing. He did not hunt game. I'm glad for that. I was traumatized enough as a child when my grandmother chopped the head off a chicken.

    Glad that Mr. Moon is back for a while. I imagine the skeeters must have been fierce in the Georgia woods.


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